Coping with the Earthquake

By: Relationships Aotearoa  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Earthquake

Along with all the practical details that need to be dealt with following the earthquake, looking after yourself is vital

Following a disaster of this magnitude it is normal to have a range of responses. Don’t be surprised if you;

  • Feel unsettled, anxious or scared
  • Are more irritable and less tolerant of others
  • Feel exhausted and on edge
  • Have difficulty making decisions

Children may become clingy and need a lot more reassurance and support than usual.

There are a number of things you can do to help you cope:

  • Talk to people you trust.
  • Ask for, and accept offers of practical help.
  • Get some physical exercise; it helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Eat well balanced, regular meals, and try to get some rest.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs to manage your stress.
  • Try to re-establish and maintain as many normal routines as possible.
  • If you feel uncomfortable being on your own, stay with others or have someone stay with you.


  • It is normal to feel like this, it is the situation that is abnormal.
  • You’re allowed to feel bad; your world has been turned upside down.
  • Those you are dealing with are also feeling stressed.
  • It’s all right to grieve for the loss of material things.
  • Others around you may have completely different reactions.

Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga has trained counsellors available to help you and your family cope with the emotional impact of the earthquake. 

Call 03 366 8804 or 0800 RELATE (0800 735 283) for telephone support or to make an appointment.

Keywords: Earthquake

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Other products and services from Relationships Aotearoa


Our Services

This is where you can find out about supervision for counsellors, professional support for people in demanding workplace roles, and training or facilitation support for your workplace. This section describes some of the different types of counselling we offer (eg personal counselling, couple counselling, workplace counselling). This includes our Parenting though Separation courses and our Relating Well in New Zealand programme for new migrants.


Counselling support - Christchurch earthquake

Reassurance that feeling worried and stressed is to be expected in these circumstances. Free counselling support is available for people affected by the earthquakes. The focus is on helping people cope with what’s happening now. Ring Relationships Aotearoa on 03 741 9201 or 0800 RELATE. It doesn’t have to stop you dealing with the situation. Ways to cope with stress and feel less irritable. If you want some practical counselling support.


Supporting Children after the Earthquake

Help them settle at night with calming routines and reassure them if they wake in the night (a nice bedtime story, nightlights, breathing exercises, special toys). Relationships Aotearoa Whakawhanaungatanga has trained counsellors available to help you and your family cope with the emotional impact of the earthquake. If your child is acting out, continue to be clear and consistent about unacceptable behaviour.


Taking care of your relationship after the quake

Taking good care of yourself – regular meals, some physical exercise and a bit of rest will help you to manage stress, worry, fear, anger and grief. Your relationship feels more precious and more vulnerable in the wake of so much loss. How do you take care of your relationship, so that it can take care of you. Pool your ideas about what possibilities the future might hold. The earthquake puts a lot of things into perspective.