It's been quite a few days for all residents in Townsville. We've broken all time rain levels, dam levels and flood records... all of which are records a town doesn't really want to break. And now the big clean up has started. For those whose homes were completely inundated to those whose homes are dry, the common theme right now is overwhelm at the extent of the loss and the magnitude of the clean up before us.
My family and I have been one of the fortunate ones to still have a dry home, yet watching the flooding that friends and loved ones have endured has been unbearable. We have extended offers to friends to come to stay as well as a helping hand to clean up and after not one 'yes thanks' response, we decided to jump into our car anyway. We took a few detours to find our way through non flooded streets to get to the friends we knew could do with help. Once physically there, on their doorstep, it was easy to offer help and seemingly easier for friends to accept help.
But where to start? What to do? It's like a wave of overwhelm that hits you in the guts! ...
We ended up supplying drinks and lunches to those whose elbows were already deep in mud, off loaded food waste to the designated dumping site and shovelled some mud here and there. It felt so good to lend a hand when you knew you had the time and the resources to help in some small way!
Yet, after many conversations with many friends over the past two days, the common theme I've noticed has been this: OVERWHELM.
There's so much to do!
Where do we even start?
This got me thinking about all I've read in my coach training on overcoming overwhelm and thought I'd share a few easy tips here which are transferable to any overwhelming circumstance.
1. It may be obvious where to start, (or maybe not) yet we feel stuck at the sheer size of the job. Don't overthink it. Just start. Whether one shovel at a time, removing one sand bag at a time. Clearing one room at a time.. simply start. Often once you've started, the next step will become clearer.
2. There may be SO many different jobs you see to do, and like having too many choices or options, you feel stuck. Pick one. Any one. Then stick with that one till its done before you pick the next one. (Which one job will make the biggest difference? - start there)
3. You are not alone in these circumstances. If you're not sure where to start or how to tackle the job ahead, look at how others around you are tackling the same job. Ask for advice. Ask for help! If it's simply too traumatic to wade through your own ruined home - there are enough other helping hands around to assist!
4. Delegate and accept the help of your friends. You're doing them a huge favour by letting them help! Your friends who are fortunate enough to still be high and dry can't wait to help you out in some way. If you can't decide what they could do to help you, then let them choose a job they can do for you.
5. If no one has offered yet (which is highly unlikely with ALL the help that's around from so many sources) then put up your hand and ask! It's okay to need help and to give a shout out for it! Even if you've already said "No thanks, I've got this" and now 2 hours later you wish you'd said yes... phone them back and say you've changed your mind. That's okay too!
6. When a job seems simply too big, break it up into bite size chunks... you've heard that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time... And even though the destruction may have happened overnight, no clean up will happen overnight.
7. When days and weeks have passed and it seems you're the only one still stuck in the trauma of these floods, know you are not alone! Find someone to speak to. Your friends have lived through it with you too and I promise, they won't get tired of chatting it through with you... and if they do, find another friend to talk to! And if you feel really down, look for a qualified life coach or councillor, psychologist or doctor. It's okay to seek out professional help too!
As for me. I'm going to keep on calling to check in with my friends in need. I'm going to keep on offering help, whether taking food or coffee over. I'm going to keep on looking for ways to assist, even if it feels so small and insignificant... so please, if you're a friend in need, accept a friends help!
And if you'd like to book a free life coaching session to talk this through, click here >>, or give me a call on 0488713257. I'd love to meet with you once we have power back in the office!!