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More Training Info > Grief Relief

Grief Relief

A matchstick tower and Pentagon memorial left lovingly at the International Fountain in Seattle in tribute to the victims who lost their lives in the attacks of 9/11/01

Following the horrible events of 9/11/01, how do we ever return to our "normal" routines? If you had difficulty simply sticking to your daily life schedule the second week of September, 2001, and found it nearly impossible to include a workout or two during the ensuing days, believe me, you are NOT alone. Our thoughts are with each and every one of you as you wrestle with grief, fear, and anxiety over what has happened and what it means to our future. We invite you to treat yourself gently and explore some of the following options for relieving your grief and taking good care of yourself.

Try to remember that exercise is a healthy, healthful and lifelong habit that has many benefits, including 1) keeping you mentally alert and able to cope with difficulties as they arise; 2) keeping you physically sharp and capable of dealing with challenges; 3) reducing high levels of stress that can result from uncertainty; 4) providing you with a diversion from the bad news and painful images that have inundated us through publications and television; and 5) affirming that you are indeed very much alive, free, and able to make choices. Choose something that you really love to do, whether that is walking downtown to take a tour of the Pigs on Parade, roller blading with a friend en route to a hot cocoa break, flying a kite, or biking along the Burke-Gilman trail. You'll feel a lot better, and more capable of returning to some semblance of the active person you were before this happened.

Make it your number one priority to spend time on yourself and your family. After all, nobody can take care of you and your loved ones better than you can! A great way to do this is to take a look at the entire week before you and block out several 30-minute chunks for ME TIME or FAMILY TIME -- meditation, exercise, stress reduction, relaxation, or conversation. By putting yourself into your appointment book, you may have more luck keeping up with your exercise program in times of extreme stress and sadness. Instead of turning on the Attack on America news at 6 p.m. and reliving those awful images, set aside that time for movement or family togetherness.

Find a close friend with whom to exercise and talk through your feelings. Celebrate your exercise success with a refreshing cup of herbal tea or calming cocoa and a few bear hugs. Making an exercise commitment to someone else usually helps you keep on track for those days when you'd really rather do something else. By helping another person come to terms with his or her grief, you can often help yourself at the same time.

Get plenty of rest. If you're having trouble sleeping, try doing something productive to take your mind off of the events. Write in a journal about your concerns or worries. Do some research about what's going on so you have a better understanding of events. Call a friend who can talk things through with you. Dance in your basement. Try a soothing bath or find the number of a masseuse for the next day. Turn on some comforting or patriotic music (whichever best fits your mood) and fully experience your feelings. Bottling up the tears is not necessarily the best thing to do at this point. Consider volunteering your time and energy to help others in the community, whether that means participating in a neighborhood watch, helping kids in after school activities, or visiting elderly in nursing homes. Try to remember the old saying: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." We will prevail; our spirit cannot be broken.

"The world will remember September 11, 2001" left as part of a memorial at the International Fountain, visited by thousands of Seattle residents affected by the tragic events of 9/11/01.

By all means, if you've been hitting your training hard, you may be due for a good break. Taking a mental break for a week or two may be the best strategy for regaining your motivation, energy, and spirit. Instead of beating yourself up over missed workouts, try to change what you are doing for the time being. If you can't face doing an hour of cardio, try getting in a few shorter 20-minute workouts. If you hate the thought of doing a workout at home, alone, invite a friend over. If your friends aren't making it to the gym, try a new exercise class. If you're working 12-hour shifts to catch up on lost time, or to avoid reality, take a mid-day break to go for a walk or stretch at your desk. Consider taking a relaxing yoga or other stretch class. Be gentle, but keep moving. Our thoughts are with you all and we're available to help each and every one of our clients in any way that we can. Peace, Unity and Safety Courtenay and Doug Schurman


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