Australia is dealing with unprecedented and unpredictable times with a seemingly relentless bushfire season commencing early this year and showing no signs of abating.
Whether you are of the mind that this is caused by climate change, a sheer coincidence of dry weather, high winds and high temperatures – or if you are of the belief that the end of the world is looming – the simple fact is that we are all feeling anxiety about where it will end and how we will be effected.
Being emotionally prepared for bushfire season
Preparing and dealing with the bushfire season isn’t only about physical preparation, such as getting your house or property ready. It’s also important that you prepare yourself emotionally. You might think of this as becoming mentally fit and prepared.
As this unprecedented current disaster is upon many, it is normal to feel stressed, worried and anxious, especially if you have been impacted by bushfires before or have family or friends that are currently impacted.
Make a Bushfire Survival Plan
Preparing a Bushfire Survival Plan for your family will help you cope, mentally, throughout the bushfire season. It will help reduce the uncertainty and anxiety around what you and your family will do if a threat arises.
If you take steps to get prepared, you’ll know what to do when you’re at risk of fire. A written and well-practised plan will help you remember what needs to be done during a crisis. Use the CFA’s Bushfire survival planning template by clicking here.
How do I become emotionally prepared for bushfire?
Emotional preparedness involves becoming aware of, understanding, and knowing how to better manage your tendency to become stressed. You can do this by giving attention to three main areas:
1. The bushfire season and current crisis across Australia may bring feelings of anxiety.
2. Professional help is available if you are unable to cope.
3. Stay informed – access to information will help you cope better.
Preparing a bushfire survival plan will also help you cope better.
Bushfire preparation advice
1. Anticipate – that the bushfire season and the occurrence of bushfires will be stressful and will cause your body and mind to react in a very specific way. Recognise your body’s stress response and think about how it may affect your ability to respond in the event that you and your family are personally at risk of a bushfire. For example, you may find it difficult to think clearly and to make decisions.
2. Identify – the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that a bushfire is likely to trigger for you.
3. Manage – the different aspects of your body’s stress response. Learn strategies that help you to manage your stress. This can help you to function effectively when faced with a bushfire.
If you would like someone impartial to talk to and share your concerns with, please contact Beyond Blue.