Kiwis urged to pace themselves as aftershocks continue
All Right? Media release: 23rd November 2016
The All Right? campaign is urging those affected by the current earthquake sequence to take extra care of themselves. The campaign was established to help Cantabrians recover from the emotional impact of the greater Christchurch earthquakes.
All Right? strategist Ciaran Fox says the current aftershocks will be having an impact on many people’s mental health. “Going through a disaster takes a toll on mental health. With each aftershock, anxiety can increase. We need to take care of ourselves and each other to prevent more serious mental distress emerging.”
Ciaran Fox says looking after your mental health is crucial. “It’s easy to dismiss the need to take time to look after yourself when you’re dealing with a crisis but the reality is it’s even more important to do so, so you cope better and don’t run out of steam.”
Ciaran Fox says there are simple things we can all do to improve our mental health – even in times of stress. “Take time to think about your energy levels. If you are feeling tired or stressed, consider ways you can recharge your batteries. Things like doing some exercise or listening to music can help pick you up – just think about what makes you feel good and take even ten minutes to do it.”
Pacing yourself is also important. “Focus on the things that are most important to you, such as family or whānau and your health. Prioritising tasks can help take pressure off yourself,” says Ciaran Fox.
“Also try and focus on the things that you can control. There are a lot of things, like road closures and broken infrastructure, that individuals can’t do much about right now. It is ok to acknowledge those things but focusing on them too much can simply leave you feeling overwhelmed.”
Ciaran Fox says routines can also help deal with uncertainty and constant change. "Try and maintain your daily or weekly routine. In a lot of cases this will be impossible due to things like school closures, so create temporary routines where you can – things like having dinner around the camp table at a particular time each day.”
Above all, Ciaran Fox says it’s important to remember that there is extra support available for those who need it. “It takes time to recover emotionally from the effects of disaster but remember you are not alone. The best place to get help is the Earthquake Support Line (0800 777 846). Getting help early can help you cope better and prevent more serious mental distress from emerging.”
You can also find some practical advice on the All Right? website - you are welcome to share this will others.