Dear Liz,

I know I speak for many when I say the unexpected week off with the kids for Hurricane Dorian was a blessing and a challenge. We lost power early on. And then our minds. Our kids are 5, 6 and 10. We tried to be ready — even had new games and surprise toys ready in our hurricane kit. I’m sure it didn’t help that we kept the news and weather on TV a lot of the time. I feel so guilty to be so irritable with everyone, especially since we were so fortunate compared to the Bahamas. Ideas?

Crabby storm survivors

Dear Crabby,

I can just sense many people nodding their heads in agreement. First, the long approach of Dorian added to the stress we all internalized. Experts all agree that it is best to limit news and weather watching, while still staying well informed. Balance. You didn’t mention if you had a generator. If prepared, as you were, it can be fun (for a while) to play in the dark. Google “games to play in the dark” for your future plans. The reality is, cabin fever is a real phenomenon. I’d get the kids out ASAP (watch for snakes of course) and get everyone to work picking up debris (wearing gloves of course) and see if neighbors need help too. Mix work with play. Go out for a picnic, check out area playgrounds once the sun dries the equipment. It would be meaningful to find ways for the kids to help earn and collect money to help the first responders and the families so deeply affected in the Bahamas. And at any time we are cooped up — take a time out to dance like crazy to fun music and to take a “let’s go crazy” break where you all can jump up and down,make faces and make funny sounds. I recommend that each household compile a notebook of checklists and helpful ideas to help for future readiness let the kids contribute to this. Great question.

Dear Liz,

Our family and friends are all grieving for those in the Bahamas. What are the safe ways to donate/help? We will all feel better if we can help in some way.

Praying for the Bahamas

Dear “Praying for the Bahamas,”

I’m so with you. And everyone I talk to is as well. This is an important question because fraudulent charity efforts seem to crop up after disasters. Here are some recommended sources, but please do your own careful research. Forbes Magazine said to do two things: donate wisely and travel there in the future to help their economy recovery.

This is a partial list and again, do your due diligence. Many of these organizations make sure victims in the U.S. are also served.

As the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo approaches, the tragedy in the Bahamas and others affected will likely bring back our memories and even some anxiety. Balance out those emotions with activities that are in your control. Get outside and don’t isolate yourself.

Contact Liz via Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.