In Honiara, many of us are living away from home. Below are some handy tips for coping with the stress that can come with being so far away from familiarity and loved ones. These tips were printed by the All Nationals Women’s Group of Port Moresby, in PNG. They have been kindly shared with The Pineapple Post (a few Honiara specific references have been added). Increased tension can take its toll on people, in different ways and often it is not the big issues that cause the most grief, despair or disharmony. It is usually a combination of many things, with one small issue being the circuit breaker. The children’s book ‘Who Sank the Boat?’ is very relative here. Was it the horse, the cow, the pig or the sheep that sank the boat? No, in actual fact it was the mouse! When the mouse joined everyone else on the boat, it was that small creatures weight that tipped the balance and sent the boat under. General Health Check Sometimes an underlying medical condition can sink a boat. Check blood pressure, routine blood tests to check for diabetes, anemia, renal/liver function etc. Do you sleep well? Is your diet healthy? Meat, vegetables, fruit? Fluid Intake At least 8 glasses of water a day are required to assist cleansing our bodies for kidney and bowel function. Keep Alcohol intake to normal limits. Excess intake places increased pressure on the heart, liver, and digestive system which ultimately undermines the immune system. Cigarette intake also needs to be monitored. Keep Active There are wonderful opportunities here to keep active such as the aerobics club, triathlon club, gyms, swimming, tennis and golf just to name a few. There is also the International Tea Group that meets weekly on Thursdays. Check out the list of clubs and groups in Honiara. Sleep When the sleeping ability is diminished, the coping ability also decreases. Sleep is a rejuvenator so it is important to learn relaxation techniques or be assessed for sleep apnea or snoring. Debrief Angry words, physical aggression and tears are often part and parcel of emotional frustration. A key to sieving out different, difficult issues is debriefing. Debriefing may be writing about issues and feelings, whereas talking things over with someone else is the way for others. No matter how big or small the issue is it helps to find a safe person to talk to. This may be a partner, a friend, work colleague, a spiritual support person, a life coach or a counsellor. Conflict and emotional issues give us the opportunity to face new situations and to grow emotionally and also the chance to assist someone else. The Bucket Theory! A weekend or a few days away from where the issues emanate from can be a cleansing experience. A changed environment often helps with improved sleep/eating/energy expenditure which are therapeutic in themselves. This is the ‘Bucket Theory’. We all have a ‘giving bucket’ within but unless it is replenished we cannot continue to give. This was taught to new mothers in the 1970s – nothing has changed that much! A combination of healthy living strategies and emotional support assist during difficult situations. Thank you very much to our friend from the All Nationals Women’s Group of Port Moresby for allowing this reprint!