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Natural disasters are unpredictable and as we have seen over recent days, can put peoples’ safety at risk, destroy homes and businesses, and can cause a lot of disruption to normal daily life.

Preparing for disasters isn’t only about physical preparation, like getting your house or property ready. It’s also important that you prepare yourself emotionally. You might think of this as becoming mentally fit and prepared.

Emotional preparedness involves giving attention to three main areas, all of which relate to becoming aware of, understanding, and knowing how to better manage the tendency to become stressed:

Anticipate – that the bushfire season and the occurrence of bushfires will be stressful and will cause your body and mind to react in a very specific way. Recognise your body’s stress response and think about how it may affect your ability to respond in the event of a bushfire. For example, you may find it difficult to think clearly and to make decisions.

Identify – the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that a bushfire is likely to trigger for you.

Manage – the different aspects of your body’s stress response. Learn strategies that help you to manage your stress. This can help you to function effectively when faced with a bushfire.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline 13 11 14.

Please take care of one another, stay safe and be prepared.