News of a conflict in Ukraine has come on top of years of pandemic-induced uncertainty and instability. Here are ways to keep your sanity during a crisis and help those in need!
I believe that many of you (just like me) feel saddened and overwhelmed by the war of aggression waged against the people of Ukraine. We at BePrime stand with Ukraine and the peace loving community of nations rushing to its aid!
We are living in turbulent times indeed. The pandemic-related news had barely subsided before a wave of distressing news of a brewing conflict came knocking. With shocking updates popping up every minute (including about the most destructive weapons imaginable), everyday folks like you and I are left constantly agitated. This, of course, has a negative impact on our daily lives and increases the stress levels exponentially to the detriment of our health.
Worse still the whole barrage of worrying news just keeps us distracted from actually living our lives and doing right by our families, friends, and countries. We have to care about what’s happening, but we are better placed to help those close to us and those suffering from military aggression if we are not disoriented and unfocused.
In this blog post I’ll briefly outline the ways you can keep yourself sane and functional in these turbulent times.
While the world seems to have gone crazy over the last several years, on average life has become better or at least not become markedly worse for most of us. Practically everywhere humans have become healthier, wealthier, more educated etc. than they were a generation ago.
Despite some of the bad things, there is a far greater number of good things happening – ranging from heartwarming school plays to multi billion campaigns against malaria.
A simple thing you can do is to walk around the nearest park, breathe in the fresh, cool March air, listen to bird songs, and embrace the beauty of nature! There is plenty of good around us – we just have to look for it!
To escape the negative and embrace the good, a media cleanse is essential. This is not to say that you should shun the media altogether. Rather choose your sources and consumption patterns carefully.
First, decide on a single, trustworthy source that you will follow. My suggestion is opting for your country’s public broadcaster or one of the major analytical newspapers like The Economist or The Financial Times. These usually are not interested in sensationalizing a story, but rather retelling the events and providing some expert analysis afterwards. Obviously CNN and Fox News are not the best choice for solid mental health.
Second, decide on the news consumption schedule and stick to it! Again 24/7 Breaking News TV shows or internet sites are a horrible choice for peace of mind as they provide a never ending stream of agitating content that never leaves you wanting more. The aforementioned “better options” allow for a single, concentrated summary of the most relevant information and analysis – whether in an evening news broadcast, a daily or weekly newspaper, or a daily newsletter.
News consumption is one thing, but in turbulent times like these we tend to seek consolation on our smart devices. Either it’s social media or games – we try to escape from the world around us.
Unfortunately, trying to escape from our troubles on phones, consoles, or laptops won’t help. Usually we either end up where we were at the start or maybe even worse. The reason is that we use these devices to saturate our brains with even more information or stimulate them with addictive, dopamine generating games. In the end we are more wound up and less able to switch off. This leads to anxiety, insomnia, or (over the long haul) depression.
Phone use is not all bad. There is good music, movies, and podcasts that can actually help to relax. Plus, we need them for work or getting in touch with our loved ones. Just remember to use them the right way, particularly in times like these.
Anxiety impacts our general ability to function properly, particularly our decision-making skills. This is the exact opposite to rational and clear thinking you would want in a crisis. This is why remembering to take care of yourself is especially important.
As already mentioned, minimizing screen time is one thing to keep your mind at ease. Use that free time to exercise, interact with friends/family, or just sleep properly.
Even if you do everything right, be ready that you won’t be feeling 100%. In these exceptional and troubling circumstances, feel free to cut yourself some slack and not perform 100%. There is no need to stress over diminished performance in circumstances like these.
The best solution to ease stress and improve wellbeing is doing some physical activity outdoors with friends or family. Nature and physical labor/activity together with our loved ones is the best thing we can do as it is something that our primarily hunter/gatherer bodies and brains were evolutionary programmed to do. Nature is our comfort zone.
Finally, try to be gentle and compassionate towards others, because most people will feel the same way. There is no need to contribute to each other’s anxiety and stress. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore the crisis, but constantly sharing stress-inducing stories and social media snippets will not help anyone.
The individual tragedies and the societal shocks linked to this conflict are not simple headlines. It’s history unfolding before our eyes with all of us being participants in it, whether we like it or not. It’s up to you to make a decision what part you will play in this page of history!
Doomscrolling and emotional exhaustion doesn’t help. In fact it’s what the social media trolls want you to do. Instead focus on what you can do to help!
We at BePrime urge you to use your voice and resources to help Ukraine and its people in any way you can!
Remember, our own personal growth and happiness can only be realized in a peaceful, free, and democratic world. Let’s work together for both of those things!
Author: Lote Steina