The flood waters are slowly residing to reveal the extent of damage to property, personal belongings, and loved ones including pets. Enormous loss is experienced on all levels, for the individual, family and communities affected. Impacts of natural disasters are usually felt in two waves, the first is the physical impact of the task before us, the clean up, insurance claims, replacing property, grieving over lost items, photos, pets.
The first wave is generally a call to action, people busy themselves doing what they can to have a productive impact on recovering from the disaster. The second wave is somewhat more complicated in that it normally hits once life starts to resemble normal once again, after the clean up is over, and life is functional again. It is at this time that we slow down and the grief and loss catches up with us. It is critical that we support ourselves and one another through both of these impact times.
Tips for managing immediately after the crisis:
- Don’t be afraid to talk about how you are feeling
- Physical productivity assists with the sense of moving forward and is therapeutic, but be careful no to overdo it
- Don’t allow the clean up to consume you 24/7, take time for a conversation with a friend, or a walk or drive to change the scenery, even 5 minutes helps.
- Remember to eat regularly, be mindful of sleeping patterns, and monitor alcohol consumption
- Set yourself a reasonable ‘to do’ list each day
- Accept help that is offered, don’t go it alone
- Stay connected with family, friends, community supports
Tips for managing after things settle down:
- Reflect positively on your achievements in pulling everything back together
- Reflect on those family or friends or neighbours that helped out, also on what you have done or others
- Continue to talk about the experience when you need to
- This may be a good time to talk to someone with skills in the area, a local community counselling service can assist.