Helping Ourselves So That We Can Help Maui #MauiStrong

Everyone is heartbroken over Maui. What happened and is still happening is beyond description and absolutely devastating. There is so much heartache, loss and brokenness and it is hard to know what to do. I’ve spoken to people on Maui, the neighbor islands and on the mainland. Everyone wants to help and there have been multiple avenues for people to provide funds, donations, and in some cases, direct boots on the ground help. But, even so, many of us are left feeling powerless and overwhelmed with the immensity and tragedy of this.

What do you do when it no longer feels right to do what you normally do? What do you do in the face of such devastation? As individuals, how do we keep this from causing us to sink and to stay stuck in our sadness?

Survivor’s guilt is real. Very real. For many of us, thinking about anything but Maui feels like a betrayal somehow. I’ve talked to friends who have no energy, who are experiencing intense anxiety, who are sad, angry, and numb. Tragedy can trigger a wide range of emotions, understandably so. It’s incredibly hard to move forward knowing that our neighbor island friends on Maui are suffering.

Self Care Strategies

So, how do we cope? And, how do we help ourselves? We can begin by putting our own oxygen mask on first. We can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves, so it’s important for all of us to adopt some self-care and coping strategies. Following are a few suggestions for you:

  1. You can allow yourself and others to express their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Even if you weren’t directly affected by the tragic fires on Maui, your feelings and reactions are valid. It’s important to express your emotions and to allow others to do the same.
  2. Even if it somehow seems wrong to go about your normal life, maintaining a normal routine helps. Your daily routines can help restore a sense of order to your life. Even if you don’t feel like it, going through your normal motions will help your mental well-being.
  3. Sleeping, exercising, and eating properly can help you to stay healthy and will allow you to support those who need the most help. Being active and doing those things that are good for your body are critical to your emotional health.
  4. Stay connected to loved ones and friends. Being in community and avoiding isolation will help you to cope better and to be better. Do not isolate. Social support and the empathy of others will enhance your well-being.
  5. Find a way to alleviate the suffering of others. Extend a helping hand when and where you can. Pray, donate, and remain steadfast and faithful to what you can do, but don’t be overcome by what you can’t do. Your small acts of kindness matter and your love, prayers, and donations will not only help others, they will help you to move forward.

Take Care of Ourselves, Take Care of Each Other

We are in a fragile state right now and it’s important that we take care of ourselves, even if it feels like it’s the last thing we want to do. We also need to take care of each other and we need to lean into the strength of our neighbors and friends.

What happened in Maui is inexplicable. And, our collective grief is palpable. We can allow our grief over Maui to plunge us into a dark abyss and to keep us stuck or we can allow it to move us toward action that knits us together as a community. A community that comes together in unity and rises to the call of helping our Maui neighbors.

The path to healing and recovery begins by taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. Others who need so much.


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Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

August 21, 2023

Thank you for the wise advice, Cherie.

Kim Soares

August 21, 2023

Excellent advice to help lift one another! 🙏🌈

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