I came across this poster stapled to a tree in a local park. It has lots of information and tips on how to recover after an earthquake. I didn’t see ‘deep breathing’ on the list of things to do, but I certainly recommend it!
It seems that my nerves decided to go on me after things had settled down, funny how that happens… it’s like when you get sick on holiday or just after you’ve finished your uni exams. Even though rationally I know I’m highly unlikely to be hurt in another quake, my fear instincts kicked in regardless. I looked up the physical symptoms of stress and discovered I had every single one of them listed on the website. But just as quickly as stress can creep up on you, you can fight back with some remarkably effective techniques.
Probably the biggest thing I have changed is being conscious of my breathing and stopping during the day to take long deep breaths. It has helped remarkably. I realised I’d been breathing through my mouth, and was frequently holding my breath during the day. It’s amazing how something so instinctive as breathing can get messed up during difficult times. So if you are feeling stressed, on edge and jumpy at each little rattle or wobble (as I like to think of them), breath deeply through your nose expanding your stomach out as you breath in, and then breath out through your mouth. Visualisations are also good – lie down on the couch and visualise being somewhere wonderful and peaceful. Hot baths help, as do early nights and sleep ins, and laughing! I made Bruce watch Bridget Jone’s diary when I was feeling at my worst – it’s so damn funny in places, even funnier now that I am not a 30-something singleton.
It doesn’t take much to bring back the awful feelings – I’d been feeling really good the other day and then saw a clip on telly during the news showing the CBD damage, and within 40 seconds I felt stressed and anxious again – so I am trying to limit my consumption of earthquake imagery and videos (though it is so compelling it has been hard to resist and avoid).
Well, those are just a few of my post-earthquake stress tips. Keep calm and carry on seems to be the order of the day now…
p.s just after I hit publish we had a ‘rattler’ and yip, I held my breath during it. Breath in… breath out… breath in… breath out 🙂