Resources for coping with grief

In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, psychologists and grief counselors have come up with advice on coping with the tragedy -- and with the ongoing stresses associated with "America's new war."

Psychologist Lynnea Lindsey of Gorge Counseling and Treatment Services offers some practical advice to easing stress from the trauma on a day-to-day basis.

Turn off the TV and turn on calming music. Balance the images being replayed in the media with images of "the here and now," she says. "Look outside and see that the street's still there, the neighbors are still there."

Connect with people. "Take the time to make a phone call, just because," she says.

Get proper nutrition. When we are under stress, it's even more important than usual to eat right and drink plenty of water.

Get plenty of exercise. "Exercise is really a strong coping mechanism," Lindsey says. Moving our bodies -- even if it's just a brisk walk -- can help our body and mind process stress.

Don't let tasks pile up. Although it may be hard to maintain pre-9/11 work levels, and hard to get motivated to accomplish everyday household tasks, doing so can alleviate stress. And worse, letting things stack up brings on stress of its own.

Gary Young has announced that the meditation room at the hospital is open daily during the noon hour for anyone who just wants some quiet time in a calm environment. Copies of a litany and hymn written after the Sept. 11 attacks are available in the room, as well as a booklet on surviving a tragedy. The room is open every day until Nov. 11, when Young will hold a special culmination ceremony marking the two-month anniversary of the attacks.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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