THERE comes a dawn – but only after the night. Things will be better, then worse and then better.
This article is written in the context of knowing that many readers have recently experienced at some level the effects of Cyclone Debbie and other climatic events.
I offer the following advice and life lessons that hails from working with many communities in bouncing through the events of floods, bushfires, droughts and other community challenges.
It’s your turn. We will all experience bad events – I wish it wasn’t true but it is.
Accept the support offered and when it’s others’ turn, commit to yourself to repay the favours and help them.
These hardships will not break you.
Immediately following the event, things gets better as people get busy fixing things and getting things right. Activity distracts. Sadly, there have been fatalities so those emotions and processes must be managed.
Typically, in about three months, the emotions will kick in and it gets worse. This is where you truly realise the effects of what happened, how much it affected you and how much these events may have set you back.
Then your spirit will kick in and things get better as you start to apply the resilience strategies of acceptance followed by positive problem solving behaviour. You will experience emotions.
But separate yourself from these emotions and re-frame them – rather than saying “I am sad (or whatever emotion)” say “I feel sad”. You are not your emotion.
It’s okay to ask for help. That help can come in many forms – from formal and official assistance from financial institutions/ advisors, government bodies such as Centrelink to ringing your neighbour and organising a catch-up to have a good old-fashioned chat.
Engage with your children. Children need certainty and they need to know that one or both of their parents have a plan and are in control. If you don’t have a plan – don’t fib.
Children have a very perceptive radar – just tell the truth and let them know that you are working on a plan.
Go back to the basics of ensuring you sleep, eat and live well.
During these times of recovery, we forget the basics, which delays the process in itself. You can’t pour from an empty cup – look after yourself so you can look after others.
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.