Survival-tips

Ongoing Quest To Make Bushfires Fatality Free

The recent fires in Adelaide have served as a grim reminder that bushfires aren’t just a concern for country residents. There are plenty of suburbs around the country which are literally a disaster waiting to happen. I recently sat down with Brian, a lifelong rural resident with exceptional acknowledge and a survivor of the tragic Black Saturday fires of 2009.

While he spoke, it became startlingly obvious that if I was ever caught in a bushfire, I’d be in serious trouble. More apparent was the fact that I probably wouldn’t be alone. There are so many aspects of bushfires that most city and suburban dwellers just aren’t aware of. So, when Brian shared his experience about escaping the Black Saturday bushfires, his life saving information prompted me to write this article in a quest to spread the word and hopefully save some lives.

Now, most of us would have heard the warnings about pre-planning and deciding whether to stay or go BEFORE a fire approaches? How many of us in the city or suburbs really take notice? I’ll admit that I’ve never really considered it. I’ve assumed those warnings are mainly for residents in fire prone areas. Naive really, because bushfires can strike anywhere.

During the conversation, I realised that my naivety would have cost my life and the lives of my family. I don’t know if you recall, but during the Black Saturday fires, people were found burned alive in their cars? What a terrifying thought and my heart goes out to their loved ones. I assumed it was because the fires surrounded them, leaving no way to escape. In reality, it may have been something very different.

Imagine a combustion heater and the way it works. Without fuel and oxygen, they just go out. Most have a lever which oxygen levels can be adjusted to reduce or increase the heat. A bushfire works exactly the same way. The more fuel and oxygen it can get, the hotter and more deadly it becomes.

Cars also need air to circulate around the engine to keep running. Without it the car ceases, just like running out of petrol. So like me, if your plan would be to wait until the last minute and jump into your car to escape an oncoming fire, you would very likely die. At some point the engine would cease and you’re brilliant escape plan would actually put you right in harms way.

Thankfully, a car can still roll if you’re on a downward slope. Brian explained that his car’s engine ceased on the way down a hill toward safety, during Black Saturday. He let the car roll and tried to restart the engine. Luckily, as he approached the base of the hill, the engine restarted. Apparently the air concentration was greater at the lower altitude, plus the distance from the fire had also increased. Without this knowledge, Brain could have very likely become trapped in his car and become another fatality.

My conversation with Brian was a massive wake up call. I hadn’t ever considered the way bushfire works or how incompatible an escape in a car would be. Despite seeing the commercials and billboards about planning for a bushfire, I’d neglected to understand the significance of the message; plan to stay or go BEFORE the fire.

Now I know why, the message really hits home. There’s no escape in a vehicle once the fire gets close. Due to the intensity of the heat, the safest option is to leave the area well and truly before a fire rips through. Your home and belongings can be replaced, but your life and that of your loved ones can’t. Please share this information in a quest to make all bushfires, fatality free.

Image via media.news.com.au

January 14, 2015

Bad Break-up? How To Move On

Break-ups can feel like a death, except there is no funeral to go to and no gravesite to visit. It’s sheer grief, despair, loneliness and isolation. Sound familiar? There’s no quick fix and there’s no one size fits all way to cope; but nevertheless, you need to find a way and move on.

Grieve

Each person experiences grief differently. As long as it doesn’t affect your mental and physical health, do what you have done in the past when you have experienced a loss. For some, it will be the first time they have experienced this intense emotion. Check out this article on coping with grief for more information.

Time

Give yourself time to heal. Rebound relationships might take your mind off your ex, but it will be extra baggage you may need to deal with. Plus, is it unfair to the person you choose to rebound to. There is no designated time limit on how long you need to give yourself, but if you’ve been in a long term relationship, be aware it will take some time to learn to adjust to life without them.

Distance

Distancing yourself from your ex is essential. Avoid going to places where they might be, calling or texting them or listening to saved voice messages. All this will add to your pain and prolong your ability to move on. Plus, this is initially how stalking can develop. Listening to music which reminds you of them or looking at photos might be something you choose to do as you grieve but long-term this can be really unhealthy.

If you have mutual friends, avoid asking about your ex. If they choose to discuss your ex and it’s making you uncomfortable; politely ask them to stop. It would be better for you to choose to associate with your friends, rather than mutual friends, in initial stages. If you want to retain a friendship with them ask them to give you some time while to work through the break-up.

Look after your health

People often pick up addictive behaviours after a bad break-up, such as drinking, drugs or gambling. Avoid trying to block the pain with substances or overeating, as this can quickly become an exceptionally unhealthy coping mechanism. Look for healthy alternatives to fill the void you are experiencing. Be aware of how you have coped with stress and pain previously. If it’s been unhealthy, catch yourself quickly.

Moving forward

At some stage after the break-up, you will begin to feel better. The tears will flow less, emotions around the break-up will dissipate and life without your ex will become normal. At this stage, you can look toward the future.

Instead of rushing into the arms of the next waiting stranger, take things nice and slow. Although sex makes us all feel great, it can have the opposite effect if you are still hooked on another person. Date on a casual basis and, if you find someone you’d like to get to know better, do that. Take sex off the table for a while and develop a friendship first. Really get to know if this person is right for you or if you are needing them to fill a void.

Even though the initial stages of a break-up are exceptionally painful and difficult, love is the greatest experience a person can have. Life will go on and a new type of normal will emerge. You never know, as one door closes, another one will open. This is the adventure of this thing we call living.

October 7, 2014

How To Cope With New-Parent Sleep Deprivation

Life as a new parent isn’t all adorable newborn cuddles, cooing and heart melts – you may also develop chronic sleep deprivation. Forget the epic births, painful post-birth aftermath or breastfeeding battles; for me, chronic sleep deprivation has been the most debilitating aspect of becoming a new parent for the second time.

Our first baby slept like an angel from 7pm-7am from about eight weeks. Armed with supreme hubris, when our baby turned nine months, my husband and I got cracking on baby no.2, as per our GP’s advice, given we were both in our late 30s. How hard could it be having two toddlers under 2? We’d blitzed this baby business with the first, so we could do it with the second, right? Wrong!

We were fortunate enough to fall pregnant with our second daughter straight away, and our hearts swelled to twice the size when she came into the world screaming like a banshee, just as her gorgeous sister had done. But there was one crucial difference between our two girls – the second little blighter was a problem sleeper, waking constantly through the night, no matter what we tried. And believe me, we tried everything – breastfeeding, rocking, singing and more.

This was a rude shock to say the least and all our pride and confidence was crushed, only to be quickly replaced by upset, bewilderment and angst. Would we ever learn up cope with the 5-6 nocturnal wake-up calls? It didn’t help that she was a big baby (almost 10 pounds) and a voracious breastfeeder. Now that our challenging, little sleeper is 13 months, and finally sleeping beautifully through the night, here are some handy survival tips which may hopefully help you, if faced with a devil child, sorry, difficult sleeper:

Nap when they do

I hated this well-worn advice, but you don’t really have a choice when seriously sleep-deprived – the minute your babies go down, so too should you. Take turns with your husband, or enlist the help of family members if need be, to help care for your other kids.

Get a night nurse

If money is no object (lucky you!) get a night nurse or mobile midwife to come help you survive those long, long days and nights. One of the best baby shower gifts I’ve ever heard of is a bunch of friends pitching in for the cost of a night nurse for a few months as a gift to a very fortunate mum-to-be.

Leave the chores

I know it’s often impossibly hard to ignore, but leave the dirty dishes and the mountain of laundry in favour of sleep, as often as you can. And delegate, delegate, delegate – ideally, this is when your mum or mother-in-law will show their true mettle and step up to help you.

Take turns on night duty

Another survival tactic is to take turns one night on, one night off, with your significant other. While one of you gets up with the baby for cuddles/night feeds (you may have to pump milk ahead of time for your partner), the other parent can be getting some much-needed rest.

Take a break

Make a habit of getting out into the fresh air and sunshine, as often as you can, to cope with the stress, anxiety and upset of sleep deprivation. Do something that makes you feel good to boost your self-esteem and energy levels –  exercise, get a beauty treatment, or spend time with a supportive friend.

Chronic sleep deprivation seriously affects your mood and coping mechanisms – there’s also a proven direct link between infant sleep problems and baby blues and postnatal depression. Get help ASAP with your local GP, visit beyondblue.org.au or phone Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

By Nicole Carrington-Sima 

June 10, 2014