Greetings to you and I hope you and your family are safe. My heart and thoughts are with those of you who have had significant damage to your homes; I hope you are getting the support and assistance that you need at this time and continue do so over the following months.
Many people are feeling huge emotional and physical upheavals from the earthquake in Canterbury. Varying degrees of trauma can be experienced as an expected and ‘normal’ response to an event of such magnitude.
There are ways in which you can assist yourself and your loved ones to recover emotionally:
- Ask for help. Don’t try and ‘staunch it out’; there are no medals being given out for this. This is a time where we can support and care for one another; it is an opportunity for the usual isolation level of our pre-quake daily lives to crumble a little, so that greater connection with one another is possible.
- Say No. If you can’t help someone, practice your self-care by saying No.
- Take the time and space to recover. Many people rush into action as a way of coping, only to ‘drop’ a little further down the track. While it’s really good to resume your routines, (as they provide a sense of structure and familiarity), be prepared to take some time out, sitting in the sun and reading, have a lie down or an afternoon snooze, weed the garden (it still grows and the birds are still singing-isn’t that amazing?), do a half-day at work if you’ve already returned, etc.
- Eat well, drink plenty of water and rest or sleep a little more. Avoid stimulants (e.g. coffee, alcohol) as for a stressed physical body, these things only increase the stress hormones. Vitamin C is great for stress- 2000mg a day as a maintainence dose at the moment.
- Emotional reactions are varied, depending on the person. Some people will get afraid to leave their house, others will not want to stay there, others are exhilarated by the danger and hype that the earthquake and destruction have brought. You may be afraid or notice you’re more irritable or jumpy or have a low tolerance to things like noises. All this can be ‘par for the course’. Take some time out/have a rest, talk to someone ( friend or family member- it doesn’t need to be a counsellor or professional), and just know that what you are feeling is very ‘normal’ given this upheaval and disruption.
- Exercise: VERY important! When we’re under stress the stress hormones in our bodies builds. Exercising helps to release this buildup. A good brisk walk, a bike ride for 20 minutes or so will help immensely.
Lifeworks Counselling will be open again on Tuesday 14th September. I am available for phone consultations before then if people want/need to. Just ring (3650483) and leave a message on the answer phone and I will get back to you.