Floods, drought and extreme climate events don’t only affect people who live on the land – it is stressful for everyone living in rural communities, many of which are close-knit, and often dependent on each other for income and social support.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but the ongoing nature of natural disaster events can lead to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Long-term stress may also cause more serious physical and mental health problems, such as heart problems, ulcers, depression or anxiety disorders.
Common signs of stress to look out for:
Physical symptoms, such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, aches and pains, muscle tension, weight loss/gain, chest or back pain, diarrhoea or constipation, injuries or accidents Always feeling tired, lacking energy or motivation Feeling angry, aggressive or irritable Increased worrying, nervousness, anxiety or fear Often feeling down or depressed Having difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness Disappointment, guilt, shame or feeling like “a failure” Feeling helpless or out of control Resentment or blaming others for the situation Withdrawing from friends and family, becoming distant No longer enjoying hobbies and interests Increased use of alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs to cope or escape the situation Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself.
If you are experiencing several of these emotions at the same time, or if they interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities, you should talk to someone you trust (e.g. partner, friend, relative) and seek help from your GP or another health professional.
Here are some strategies that can help you to manage stress: Recognise when it’s getting too much Take notice of any changes in your physical health, your behaviours or your emotions that might indicate that things are getting too much for … Continue reading Getting through floods, drought and extreme climate events – Lifeline toolkit