New Zealanders urged to pace themselves as aftershocks continue

Earthquake stress is an important issue, Fox says. Photo/file
Earthquake stress is an important issue, Fox says. Photo/file

People affected by the current earthquake sequence are being urged to take extra care of themselves, says a group established to help Cantabrians recover from the emotional impact of the Christchurch earthquakes.

All Right? campaign strategist Ciaran Fox said the 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."

Looking after mental health is crucial, Fox said.

"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."

There are simple things everyone can do to improve 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 10 minutes to do it."

Pacing yourself is also important.

"Focus on the things that are most important to you, for example, family/whanau and your health. Prioritising tasks can help take pressure off yourself," Fox said.

"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 okay to acknowledge those things but focusing on them too much can simply leave you feeling overwhelmed."

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, Fox said it's important to remember 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."

Where to get help

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 04 Dec 2016 23:15:37 Processing Time: 488ms