Unless you’ve been living under a rock with zero social media, you’d be aware of the current bushfire crisis here in Australia. Showing up online can feel anywhere between uncomfortable and unbearable for many of us right now.
There’s a good chance that you’re feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and even a little stuck. After all, how can you share your New Year challenge or brand-new package when there are people who are dying? How can you focus on clients who have little niggles when others are seriously suffering?
You might just want to hide away, like the furry friend in the pic below. I don’t blame you! I did the same for the first week or so.
But if you are wanting to find a way to stay present and consistent with your marketing and content, I’ve come up with some guidelines.
These tips can help you to navigate the online space and contribute positive thoughts to the conversation.
Although many of these are specific to the current situation in Australia, they can apply to any other disaster – local, national or international.
6 Tips For Showing Up Online When Disaster Strikes
#1 – Think twice before sharing negative media posts
There are certain disturbing images, statistics and articles that have been shared a lot with the bushfires. People have been sharing these across social media with the intention of spreading the word of the disaster to the wider world.
But I would suggest not sharing these posts over and over again.
These sorts of posts can be triggering for people who are in the disaster zones or who have family and friends who are. It can also trigger those who have previously worked in disaster zones, such as former volunteer firefighters.
If you’re working with sensitive clients, such as those with mental health concerns or chronic illness, it can lead to a feeling of overwhelm and helplessness in your followers.
What should you do instead?
Focus on actions that can be taken. Share positive stories, such as people being found or houses being saved.
You don’t have to pretend that everything is sunshine and lollipops, but you can give some airtime to the positives rather than adding to the flood of negativity.
For some inspiration, check out this article by The Guardian.
#2 – Offer a free service to those affected or assisting with disaster recovery
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a health practitioner. Health practitioners are amazing at supporting people in crisis, as well as supporting the supporters.
So why not put out a free offer to those who are dealing with the fallout of the disaster?
I know that I am nowhere near the Victorian fires – the Gippsland fires are about 150-200kms from where I live. But I know of a dozen volunteer firefighters who live within 10km of me that have already fought fires interstate and here in Victoria this fire season.
Even if you’re not immediate to the area, you can offer your support to those who have been affected. Adrenal tonics, immune support, respiratory support and even massage and manual therapies can be incredibly beneficial to those affected by a disaster.
Remember to stay balanced with this. Don’t give away all of your slots for the week and then be unable to pay your rent! But you can share your knowledge and spare time to help.
#3 – Share with your followers what you are doing to support the situation and why
Many people feel strongly about why money, time and other resources shouldn’t be going to specific organisations. Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of bickering and keyboard warrior situations, which does nothing to help the cause.
When it comes to what you’re sharing online, the most important step is to focus on what you are going to do and why.
- Tell people which non-profit you gave to and why you chose that organisation – for example, because you care about local wildlife
- Let them know that you’re donating blood or plasma, especially if you’re near the danger zone area
- Share when you put together a free offer for first responders, and ask them to share if they have friends in the fire brigade, ambulance or police force
- Pop up a selfie of you working at a local donation point
The more that people see options for how to help during a crisis, the more they are likely to find one that works for them.
#4 – Be honest about how you feel
Showing up online doesn’t have to mean hiding your feelings.
Us health praccies are very in-tune with the world, which means disasters can leave us heartbroken. But there’s a good chance many of your followers feel the same right now.
So be honest about the fact that you don’t feel ok, or that the stress is affecting your sleep, or that you’ve been feeling helpless. Share your experience and be a little bit vulnerable.
This benefits both parties. It attracts the right tribe for you, and it helps your tribe to find a practitioner that they feel a kinship and connection with. Even if it isn’t the right time for them to seek your services, you can continue to build that trust with them over time.
#5 – Remember that tragic events can make people consider their wellbeing
A crisis brings people together. But it also means that many are reflecting on life and their decisions. This can lead to them considering action when it comes to improving their health.
They might want to become stronger, fitter and healthier in case they are ever in a bushfire.
Some might be inspired to become a volunteer firefighter or join the SES, which requires a certain level of health.
Others may just realise that they’ve been living a half-life, and now it’s time to become their best self.
Whatever the reason is, working with a health expert like you might be the answer for them.
Share your offers out into the world. They have the power to change lives and support people as they come out the other side of whatever disaster has struck.
#6 – Don’t forget those who are indirectly affected
When it comes to widespread issues like the bushfires, you can’t forget those who suffer indirect health issues.
Smoke inhalation and air quality have been a major issue in almost every major city in Australia, as well as drifting to New Zealand. Everyone who reads about the fires is at a higher risk of elevated stress, anxiety and mental health concerns.
If it falls within your niche, or if you’re just called to do so, start sharing tips for these concerns. If you can’t focus on anything else, showing up online could be as simple as sharing actionable advice for:
- Respiratory health
- Immune health
- Mental wellbeing
- Stress management
- Dealing with overwhelm
- Self-care tips
Need some inspiration? Check out this great infographic from my friend Linda about dealing with bushfire smoke. It’s simple, effective, and has been shared nearly 100 times directly from her Facebook page (plus many more times as an image!)
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