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San Diego Wildfires Mental Health Fund

or Coping

It is 'normal' to have difficulty managing your feelings after major traumatic events. However, if you don't deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:

-- Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve

stress and realize that others share your feelings.

-- Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this

tough time. If your family lives outside the area, stay in touch by

phone. If you have any children, encourage them to share their concerns

and feelings about the disaster with you.

-- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat

properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since

nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.

-- Limit exposure to images of the disaster. Watching or reading news

about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.

-- Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a

movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities

can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in


-- Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload

can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it.

Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. "Checking off"

tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less


-- Do something positive. Give blood, prepare "care packages" for people

who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a

rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose

in a situation that feels 'out of your control.'

-- Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol ma

SOURCE Mental Health America of San Diego County
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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