Taking care of you during a crisis

Taking care of you during a crisis.

There are so many people directly impacted by this natural disaster, but there are many more of us who are indirectly impacted. It’s time to shift our collective energy from fear and stress to maintaining health and moving forward.

Today I want to acknowledge the collective stress levels being experienced by our national population. Also how we can improve this element of the disaster and why that matters.

Experiencing elevated levels of stress, worry, anxiety and fear for a long period of time can leave us running on empty and is detrimental to long term health outcomes. These stressors affect our sleep patterns, concentration, focus, general health and emotional stability. Just like the fires these elements impact the environment surrounding us and the other people in it.

We can lose patience with our children and family members, we might eat poorly, drink more alcohol & coffee, we can become consumed by thoughts of dire outcomes and loss, we can begin to feel agitated, frustrated, angry, sad, lonely, lost, depressed.

The enormous reach of this crisis is still unfolding and will continue to do so for a very long time yet.

Everybody reading this knows someone who lives/lived or holidayed in these fire-affected areas of the country. These are the most beautiful parts of our home, places we usually find happiness and joy, places we have all made wonderful memories over the years. So we are all deeply affected.

My children and I have been suffering and enormous indirect effect of this fire season. My entire extended family has been at risk at one time or another. Today it is my Mum and Bert (Grandma & Poppy) who are sitting and waiting with their evacuation plan their little coastal oasis may be spared but there are no guarantees. It’s terrifying for all of us!

For months now we have been lost for words and overwhelmed with emotion. Today our country continues to burn, more scars are created in the earth and our hearts, and we feel helpless. We are donating, we are watching the news broadcasts and we are monitoring emergency channels but nothing feels like it’s having an impact.

So what CAN we do?

We can take care of ourselves. We can give ourselves permission #bekindtoyourself

We need to be strong, healthy and determined on the other end of this crisis and that requires placing a focus on how we are taking care of ourselves today. Our country is going to need us when the smoke settles.

There are a lot of things we can do to shift our energy into a healthier place and have that lead to a positive impact on our local and national communities.

Thankfully all of these things a simple, cheap and achievable by all so let's get started.

To avoid this become a novel I am going to bullet point the top actions you can take to maintain your health and the health of those around you and to continue to find the strength to make positive steps forward.

1. Talk about your worries as often as you need to. There is real power is giving your fears a voice. It can release an enormous amount of internal pressure. Post it in the comments, start a conversation with those near you, release your worries.

2. Listen. Chat with your neighbours. Carve out some time to hear how others are travelling during this time. It builds community spirit, it eases fears and it creates a sense of love and belonging when we all feel so alone and helpless.

3. Don’t feel guilty for being upset. Remember your feelings are real and valid just like everyone else. This is not a competition so don’t get trapped into thinking that you don’t deserve to feel emotional just because another human is in a worse position. Acknowledge your feelings and deal with them truthfully. #noguilt

4. Do a mindful activity – Don’t run away from this one there are more options than meditating in you activewear on a pristine cliff-face.

a. Listen to some calming beats.

b. Sing with your kids

c. Draw something

d. Go for a walk (if smoke haze permits)

e. Yoga stretches

f. What else do you do to relax?? Add it to the comments section.

5. Get back on the wagon. Many of you have supplements or food plans that you know make you feel 100% better, but at times like this, we all tend to fall off the wagon. Today is the day to jump back on the wagon. You will be better and stronger for it.

6. Switch off from the news updates. It‘s mentally taxing to be ruminating about every change and update. Give yourself permission to take time out from the barrage of bad news, your central nervous system will thank you for it. Set a number of times per day that you will update yourself about what’s going on, and limit the time you will spend doing that. Obviously, this does not apply to those in imminent danger xx)

7. Cry. Crying is a function of the body that helps to relieve stress and allows you to let go of the anxiety and stress your body is holding. Crying has some very real positive effects on the body let it all out.

8. Give someone a hug – hugs change brain chemistry to support a calming of the central nervous system. Give them and receive them. They are free and they work.

Thank you for reading this, even if you just do two of these things you will have a positive impact on your self and the wider community. I love my country and am hurting badly at the losses we are all experiencing, but I am not alone and neither are you xx

Please note: If you would like a little more support with your stress levels or health in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch x




© 2017 by Swinburne University of Technology. 

Melbourne, Australia.

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