In an emergency or disaster, immediate physical needs are easy to see. But it’s also important to take care of your emotional and social needs. 

It’s not unusual to feel anxious or distressed in the face of a crisis, emergency, or disaster, and important to remember that everyone reacts differently. You and your whānau will be dealing with many new and uncertain situations.  Almost everyone affected by a disaster will experience stress at some point. These reactions are ordinary responses to an extraordinary situation.

Steps you can take: 

  • Follow your household’s emergency plan and the advice of officials. 
  • Use coping strategies that work for you — whether that’s having a break,  writing things down, drawing on beliefs or faith you may have, or helping someone else. 
  • Connect with your whānau, friends, and community. Knowing that others are there to support you is one of the best ways of getting through. 
  • Take a break from media (if it's safe to do so). 
  • Take care of those around you if you can. 
  • Look after your basic needs by eating well, getting sleep, and exercising. 
  • As soon as you can, return to your everyday routines. 

After an emergency or disaster 

Recovery is a journey that takes a different shape for every person. It is important to look after you and your family’s wellbeing. Some tips for recovery are: 

  • Acknowledge things that you have little control over and focus on things that you can control. 
  • Pace yourself. Break tasks into small steps and work through them. 
  • Deal with small problems before they become bigger. 
  • Do things you enjoy. 
  • If you feel it would be helpful, organise or participate in community events or memorials. 

Caring for kids 

There are many things we can do to support children through stressful events. Give them time to react and process, while being available to answer their questions. Listen to them to find out what they understand, or think has happened about the situation, and provide age-appropriate information. 

Communicating your own reactions may also help to reassure and normalise your child’s response. Let them know that it’s okay to be scared and upset, but that you will all work together to get through this. 

After an emergency, there may be many changes to your child’s expected routine. Encourage them to spend time with their friends and family doing fun things. Remind them that it’s important to keep talking about the way they are feeling. 

Train to support others 

Anyone can provide emotional support but it’s helpful to train so you can confidently assist people during and after crises. Psychological first aid is a vital part of emergency response and recovery. You can gain skills and practical training by attending one of our courses in your area. 

Recovery Matters Workshop information