It seems that we’ve only just come out of lockdowns, constant COVID testing and life felt like it was just getting back to normal. But now we’re having headlines about Russia invading the Ukraine, possible WW3 and how everything is getting really expensive and terrible.
It can be easy to feel yourself becoming negative and to feel your mood and mental health start to decline. However, don’t worry just yet, we’ve come up with 5 ways to help your mental health during these troubling times.
1. Limit time on social media and news sites.
For some of us, social media is the first thing we check in the morning. Before we get out of bed, and sometimes we check it before we even talk to our partners in the morning! Social media is where we get most of our news and information about what is going on in the world. Currently, with so much turmoil going on people are posting more than normal.
Whether it’s new updates of the situation, videos of the war or lists of places you can donate to help – it can feel so overwhelming to constantly be reading about the War between Russia and the Ukraine. Whilst it’s good to keep up to date with what is going on in the world, too much information can make us feel hopeless and that we will never get out of this situation. So limiting your social media use is a great way to be aware of what is going on, but not overwhelming you with the constant posts flying around.
Limit yourself to read only 1-2 articles a day about the conflict, or watch only 1 short video about it. If you find yourself starting to get anxious or panic, stop reading, take a few breaths and put your phone away. It’s been said that starting your day by reading something negative can trigger your stress response which sets you up for a horrible day. It’s good to check in with yourself about how much information you are taking in.
As the endless scroll of a phone is designed to make us feel like we haven’t been on it for too long – when in reality an hour has flown by, and we haven’t even noticed! By placing a limit on the negative things we are looking at, can help our minds not go into panic mode
2. Remember to practice self care.
It can be easy to think that you don’t deserve to focus on you, when there are families fleeing the Ukraine, and people are enlisting to fight. But you can focus on you and care about what is happening, and guess what? It’s not selfish to take time for yourself – you can practice self care and worry about the world. Read our article here on ways to relax and chill out.
You don’t have to take much time out of your day to make your mood improve. A good example would be a simple morning meditation, making time to focus on your breathing and how much your mind is jumping around. As this can be a good indicator of your mood and anxiety levels. If meditation isn’t for you, look at what else you enjoy? Self care looks different for everyone. Sometimes baking or cooking a meal for friends can make us remember to enjoy the present. If you have a build up of nervous energy, go for a walk or head to a gym class. Once you’re done you’ll be flooded with feel good endorphins, and you’ll have worked off some of that nervous energy and put it to good use! Not only that, but being physically tired can help us fall asleep a lot easier.
3. Find positives in the everyday.
Our brains love to focus on the negatives in life. We’ve all been there – you get lots of nice comments and messages, but that one negative one sticks in your head the most. We’re only human! If you feel like your anxiety is spiking, look for the positives around you. Although there is turmoil and it can feel scary – write a list of people you care about and what you love most about them. Looking back at that list, you’ll be so surprised as to how amazing your friends and family are.
Enjoy the little everyday things – happiness can come from anywhere if we look for it. Anything from a fresh and tasty cup of coffee, a really good bit of food…. seeing a cute dog on the way to school, a clear sunny day or even cutting wrapping paper and the scissors gliding through it…. Literally anything! When you go about your day purposefully looking for something positive – you’ll be so amazed at how many things you ignore daily and how beautiful the world really is.
4.Talk to a loved one.
With anxiety and negative thoughts you can sometimes feel really isolated and that you are the only person thinking about the war. Trust us, you’re not alone! Find someone who you feel comfortable being vulnerable with, and share how you are feeling. If you can’t put a name to your feelings that’s ok. You can still talk about what you have been reading/watching – your loved one might also have seen the same thing and be experiencing a similar mood. There’s that saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and when it comes to constant negative news, that really is true! Even by talking things through it can make you feel so much lighter and your emotions seen. Remember – it’s not weak to ask for help or talk to someone about how you feel.
If you find your friends/family are having different feelings to you, that’s ok. Everyone reacts differently to news, if you feel like you have no one to talk to then join our wonderful community where you can talk about anything you like with our members or have a confidential chat with one of our trained mentors.
5. Check your sources.
With constant information flooding our timelines it’s easy to think that an invasion is imminent. However it’s always handy to take a step back and (if you can) try to take away your emotional response and look for solid and verified facts. Accounts and websites are hoping to draw in clicks and shares, so they may be over-embellishing facts or taking quotes out of context. It’s important to not take one headline as truth, and to really see what language is being used to talk about the issues.
With our constant connectivity it’s easy to become consumed by constantly checking live updates – but this is fueling your anxiety and validating those internal worries. Although important to be up to date with things, remember that last month we were talking about lockdown rules being broken and the cost of living, and next week the headlines will surely be different again.
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