Bloomprint Life Design

In Search of Calm in Desperate Times

In Search of Calm in Desperate Times

The weather in Townsville where I live has been very wet and seen record rainfalls to the point of flooding.  As I sit high and dry and safe from the imminent rising flood waters my thoughts and worries remain with those friends, families and strangers who have not faired so well. Those evacuated from their homes with the assistance of emergency services, and those in the path of the deluge from the dam’s flood gates which are expected to fully open at any moment now to cope with the rising levels of the dam.  

The community is isolated with all roads in being cut by flood waters, shops have been picked bare and rising flood waters are dirty and filled with unimaginable things.  As the devastation slowly unfolded over the space of a week, we have no choice but to be at the mercy of mother nature in her full power.  The trauma of seeing images of my community and the devastation facing them and keeping up to date with the latest alerts as they unfold has me feeling so heightened with anxiety and helpless and at times so antsy like I’m crawling out of my skin.  How does one find calm in the midst of desperate times like these?

For me I played games, watched movies, and baked (thankfully we still have electricity) as a form of distraction but with each alert and update, the outcome is looking more grim and the prospect of greater devastation weighs heavy.   It’s hard to be optimistic in times like these but all is not lost.

It is generally in times like these when we are put to the test.  We pitch in and help those that we’ve never met and probably will never meet again. The invisible walls of divide that exist in the community come crashing down and in this moment we are one. Bound together by disaster and the survival of getting through.  Unity, compassion and kindness are at it’s peak with a sense of urgency within everyone has roused to lend a hand where they can.  There is an eerie sense of peace in knowing that everyone is in the same situation and feeling the same way.

10 Tips for maintaining some sense of calm in desperate times:

  1. Stay up to date with alerts and emergency information but do not over immerse yourself in all the details and images. This can raise your anxiety and feelings of helplessness
  2. Be prepared. This helps to give you some sense of control over the situation and the confidence that if the situation gets worse then you will know exactly what you will do.
  3. Be mindful what children around you see and hear. Continue to reassure them that they are safe and limit the amount of information that they see and hear on the news and radio. When telling them about what is happening, be matter of fact and do not lie to them but ensure that you are selective about what you tell them. Their younger brains are not able to process the enormity of the situation.  Try and keep them occupied as much as possible.
  4. Be mindful that your reaction and manner can be contagious. Panic and anxiety can easily spread, particularly to children. It’s ok to express worry however try not to panic.
  5. Accept what is out of your control. The outcome of what will happen is unknown and out of your control. Excessive worry will only drain your sense of emotional and mental wellbeing. You have control over how prepared you are and how you can direct your energy in helping others prepare.
  6. Try and maintain your routine as much as possible, this helps to give you some sense of regular life during this time. Rest when you are able as fatigue levels will impact on your ability to cope.
  7. If you are able, reach out and help in small ways – donate clothing, food, hygiene items to evacuation centres, help a neighbour, reach out an connect with someone who may be struggling.
  8. Let others help. If someone offers to distract you for a while, let them. If someone offers to help you move your furniture, let them.  If someone offers to look after your children for a while to play so that you are able to get plans ready or get some rest, let them. Now is not the time for a proud “I can do it all” attitude.  
  9. Remember that you are not alone. Even in the aftermath when the clean up occurs, everyone will be feeling the same rollercoaster of emotions.  Support others who may be struggling and seek support if you are struggling.
  10. Continue to use your toolbox of coping skills that you use in your everyday life. You may need to increase the frequency in which you use these strategies during this time.

For my friends, family, colleagues and clients in Townsville facing the devastation of the floods. We are in this and will get through this together. Stay safe xx.


Above photo credit: Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (QFES)