Our hearts are broken in the wake of the recent Bushfire crisis in Australia. From the loss of life of both humans and wildlife to the devastation caused to the land, communities, and infrastructure.
For the survivors who were physically unharmed, the most common response was that they were lucky. Lucky that their families, friends, and pets were alive. However, it was mostly followed by the heartbreak of losing their homes. And not in a materialistic way, but rather the difficulty of losing their safe space, their family hub.
In this blog, we wanted to consider our relationships with our environments: how we use space to connect to ourselves and others, and how to heal and rebuild in the aftermath of such destruction.
MIND / BODY / SPIRIT
If we can take anything from the stories of the individuals and communities affected, it is that the human spirit is resilient. We’ve seen numerous displays of individuals who have lost everything still smiling, helping others and proclaiming “it could’ve been worse”.
Stressful or traumatic situations can have numerous effects on the mind, body and spirit. This response can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce physiological changes. You may have heard of the “fight-or-flight” mode. Our stress response evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. While these days it may be activated by less serious circumstances (including work stress or traffic jams), the sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses allows us to determine whether we fight the threat off or flee to safety.
For many who have been under a direct threat from the recent fires, it is likely they experienced this “fight or flight” mode, followed by exhaustion caused by adrenal fatigue once they had found safety. We encourage everyone, directly or indirectly, affected by the circumstances to be kind to yourself and others. Take it slow and understand the effects this situation can have on all aspects of our wellbeing.
While many of us are attached to our possessions, it is events such as these that demonstrate the emotional comfort in which they bring, rather than the items themselves. Those who have lost their homes haven’t just lost the building, but rather their home and safe space. It is the place we all go to rest, relax, heal and be ourselves.
In times of trauma, we tend to look for items that bring comfort and help us to self soothe. We recommend surrounding yourself with items and textures that create good memories and feelings of calm and safety. For example, a certain scent in a diffuser can elicit childhood memories or that first date with your loved one, just as certain textures or colours can remind you of happy memories from a period in your life. Setting up your temporary space with these items can help calm the nervous system and regulate it back to the parasympathetic nervous system.
For those who are already looking at rebuilding, considering how to make your home as healing and nurturing as possible will help you feel connected to your space as well as allow you to feel safe once again.
While the focus has been on the survivors of the bushfires, it is also important that we don’t dismiss the experiences of those outside the affected regions. In times of such catastrophic events, it is not unusual for the nation to grieve. We are all connected and can feel the pain and loss of what has happened across the country.
However, there have also been numerous examples of people taking to their social media accounts expressing personal guilt for doing things they enjoy and going about their regular lives. While there is no harm in being a little more mindful of the things you share (particularly online), it is okay that you still spend Christmas with loved ones or enjoyed a day at the beach with friends. In fact, it is likely you appreciated it even more given to the circumstances.
However you feel in the wake of the bushfires, we encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Take time to check in with your feelings and don’t feel guilty for doing the things that bring you joy. Incorporating healing spaces and kindness into your everyday life will help to bring good feelings back into our lives- even just for a moment.
Interior Flow specializes in creating heart-centered interiors based on the individualistic needs of the user and/or family. We create spaces for people to feel safe and supported, allowing them to thrive to be the best versions of themselves. Speak to Krystal and the team today and let us help you create your unique space.