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Mindset Coach, Alexis Jane Reveals 8 Tips to Keep Calm During Bush Fires

Alexis Jane wearing a kimono

Australian Mindset coach, Alexis Jane

Whether you've been affected by the fires or are anxious about what may happen, these tips will help you to manage your emotions.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, January 29, 2020 / -- Many Australians need time and space to come to terms with the damage, both physical and spiritual, to our land and home. In the aftermath of this devastating event, it’s also natural to want to help, heal and hold space for the many lives affected and taken, both human and animal. We're also grieving for the businesses, schools and homes destroyed, and the destruction of the sacred and spiritual land upon which they live. The usual “light a candle and think positive thoughts” approach doesn’t cut it in the face of Mother Nature at her angriest.

Life for our ancestors was tougher, and people tended to frame events like natural disasters as spiritual or supernatural. While it’s possible to be completely skeptical of this, it doesn’t satisfy that deeply human urge to connect and bond with the forces of nature. We’re naturally wired that way, it’s how humans cope with the terrifying forces of nature, and I’d advise anyone feeling shaken and dislocated by the fires to reconnect with the earth and with their own spirituality, however that might manifest. This will help them with the important tasks of reaching out to the community, taking care of both people and animals, and helping to rebuild the country.

1. Becoming aware of your emotions is the first step. How are you really doing? We’re a tough people, but sometimes it’s more helpful to admit you’re shaken and it’s taking time to get back to normal, than to pretend you’re already there.

2. Get your emotions moving, rather than silently dwelling or brooding. Writing down how you feel can help to get it moving out of your body, and you can clearly see what’s happening in your mind. Also, what a legacy to leave to future generations - a first hand, written account of these fires, and how they affected you and people around you. Think about your place in the grand scheme of things, as you are living through a historical event right now.

3. If you don’t want to write, maybe you could document this with photographs, record a voice clip or draw or paint your thoughts and feelings. This is a great way to help kids to release scary emotions and thoughts too.

4. Make sure the basics are covered - that you have a self care routine in place. This can be as simple as staying hydrated and making sure you eat properly and get enough rest. Your immune system can suffer at times of stress, and you may feel more tired or irritable than usual. Be good to yourself.

5. Your body will be under a lot of stress, bombarding your system with stress hormones. Normally a walk outdoors is the best thing to relieve stress, but until the air is clear, a gym workout would be better. Laughing and crying are both stress relievers - who doesn’t feel better after a good cry? If you’d prefer to laugh your stress away, pick a rip-roaring comedy, look at some silly cat videos, catch a comedy show or talk to the friend that makes you laugh the most.

6. Breathing techniques will help slow the mind and increase the oxygen in your body, which will help you to calm you down and release some hormones. Even if you don’t feel tense, being in a constant state of vigilance can be stressful, and it’s really helpful to relax via breathing exercises.

7. If you are feeling depressed, anxious or have signs of PTSD consult your local GP. Don’t worry that you don’t “deserve” to have PTSD or depression because you know someone that had it worse. We’ve all collectively lived through a large scale natural disaster, and it’s perfectly normal to be traumatised.

8. Open up to others. Some people might not want to dwell on things, but others will want to talk and go over events and feelings, in order to put their own heads straight. Take turns listening to friends and talking about your own experiences and feelings.

If you’re the strong type that doesn’t like to unburden yourself to others, cut yourself some slack this time! Everyone is feeling weird, and everyone wants to do everything they can to put themselves and each other back together. Like the little shoots already starting to come through the ash, there are tiny glimmers of hope in the destruction. What hasn’t killed us has hopefully made us stronger as a community, and that means allowing yourself to be healed by the power of collective unburdening, as well as being strong for others.

I will leave you with this quote from Dr Tamara Mackean, Waljen woman of the Goldfields region and Australia’s first Aborignial doctor:

“To us, health is about so much more than simply not being sick. It’s about getting a balance between physical, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual health. Health and healing are interwoven, which means that one can’t be separated from the other.”

Alexis Jane
+61 466 222 206
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