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Navigating the Emotional Drought:
Understanding grief in times of water shortage

Published September 2023

Grief is a complex emotion that arises from various challenging life circumstances, including loss, illness, or natural disasters. However, one often overlooked aspect of grief is its profound impact during times of drought. In this blog, we will explore the often-unspoken grief associated  when rivers dry up, its emotional toll on individuals and communities, and strategies for coping and finding resilience amidst this environmental crisis.

Image by Juanita Swart

1. The Hidden Grief of Drought:

Droughts bring about a unique kind of grief as individuals and communities witness the gradual loss of water resources. The impact of parched land, dying crops, and dwindling water supplies can cause immense emotional distress. Recognising and addressing this hidden grief is crucial for the well-being of those affected. NALAG is very much aware of the impact on whole of community and our First Nations People.


2. Acknowledge Your Feelings:

It is essential to acknowledge and validate the range of emotions that arise during a drought. Feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and helplessness are natural responses to the loss of water and the subsequent effects on livelihoods, ecosystems, and overall well-being. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment or guilt.


3. Connect with Others:

Seeking support from friends, family, and community members going through similar experiences can be immensely beneficial. Creating forums, support groups, or community initiatives to share stories, exchange coping strategies, and collectively navigate the emotional impact of drought can foster resilience and a sense of unity. Remember, NALAG's grief support service is always available.


4. Find Meaning in Conservation:

In times of water scarcity, finding meaning and purpose in conservation efforts can help alleviate grief. Embracing sustainable practices, participating in water-saving initiatives, or volunteering in local conservation projects can provide a sense of empowerment and contribute to a collective effort toward environmental healing.

Image by Stephen Radford

5. Practice Self-Care:

Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is crucial during times of drought-induced grief. Engage in self-care activities such as meditation, spending time in nature, exercising, and engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy and a sense of peace. Prioritizing self-care helps build resilience and fosters emotional well-being.


6. Foster Hope and Resilience:

While grief during a drought can be overwhelming, it is important to foster a sense of hope and resilience. Educate yourself about the potential for water conservation and innovative solutions to address water loss.


7. Seek Professional Help:

If the emotional impact of drought becomes overwhelming and begins to significantly affect your daily life, seeking professional help is vital. Mental health professionals can provide guidance, coping strategies, and support tailored to your specific needs as you navigate the emotional challenges of drought-induced grief. NALAG's grief support service is always available.

Grief during times of drought is a profound and often overlooked aspect of the environmental crisis. By acknowledging and validating the emotional toll of water scarcity, connecting with others, practicing self-care, fostering hope and resilience, and seeking professional help when needed, it is possible to navigate the emotional drought and find strength amidst adversity. Together, we can create a compassionate and supportive environment that acknowledges and addresses the grief associated with drought-induced water scarcity. 


Trudy Hanson OAM 

Published September 2023

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