Over the course of a lifetime, it is common to be exposed to a traumatic event. The recent Tamarack Fire could be considered one of these events, particularly if you have experienced a loss. In response to these types of situations, some people may develop traumatic stress, a normal response to an abnormal event.
Losing your home in a wildfire involves not only the loss of your physical residence and other things of value such as photo albums, important documents and treasured objects. It also involves the destruction of sacred homelands and scars the natural beauty of your surroundings. After a wildfire, your sense of security can also be lost and that can significantly disrupt the normality of daily life. You should not underestimate the challenge of evacuation, relocation and rebuilding after a fire.
Below are some resources you can use during recovery after a fire.
Children, and adolescents can react in a variety of ways when dealing with a fire including experiencing anxiety, nightmares and sleep disorders. A child's ability to cope is highly influenced by how their parents and caregivers deal with crisis. Because children often look to adults for guidance, support, and information, it is important to work to toward coping successfully so that you may serve as a positive role model for your children.
Recovery and Coping
In the middle of a crisis, it can become difficult to take care of yourself with so many other worries preoccupying your mind. However, this is a good time to think about your personal resiliency, healing and a sense of normality. Some self-care strategies you may want to consider are:
Practicing proven stress-reduction techniques, such as:
• Regular exercises, meditation, and deep breathing.
• Allowing yourself to feel bad, cry, and release negative emotions in a healthy manner.
• Giving yourself permission to feel good. You can have periods of joy even when coping with loss.
• Making small decisions daily in order to feel in control of your life once more.
• Putting off major life decisions, such as switching jobs, if possible.
• Lowering your expectations of what you “should be doing.”
• Not isolating yourself too much.
• Spending time with people is healthy in recovery.
• Talking with friends and family.
• Taking advantage of community support.
• Focusing on what you are thankful for in spite of your loss.
• Staying away from mood-altering substances, such as alcohol and other drugs.
• Getting plenty of rest when possible and maintain a normal sleep/wake cycle.
• Eating well-balanced meals.
It is common for people to experience several stages of adjustment including shock, anger, depression, and hopelessness. Ultimately, however, people can reach a stage of acceptance and become able to move beyond disbelief, bitterness, and sadness. Positive feelings can begin to re-emerge as the focus shifts towards the future. Safety, security, and comfort are regained, and life moves forward once again.