Now that corona seems to be under control, another major and unpredictable event is taking place: the war in Ukraine. The war creates a certain threat that we have no control over. You don’t know what is going to happen and this creates uncertainty and can cause anxiety. Because nobody has complete certainty about anything, it is difficult to let go. This can all weigh very heavy on you. You can compare it to a bucket of water that is slowly running over. It isn’t strange if you’re starting to notice your bucket is flooding. Luckily, there are several ways to empty your bucket and I’ll tell you how!
Focus on you
In uncertain and stressful times it is extra important to take good care of yourself. This means eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising enough. If you’re feeling stressed your body produces the hormone cortisol. In short term, cortisol is very useful; it helps us survive. But if you’re stressed for a longer period of time, the high amount of cortisol can cause an imbalance. Exercise helps your body to produce all sorts of happy hormones, such as endorphins. Endorphins attack cortisol, which causes you to feel less stressed or rushed. So, exercise will make you feel less stressed!
Next to getting enough exercise, also make sure you get enough relaxation. To get more rest mentally and physically you can try breathing exercises. When you feel anxious, your breathing goes up which produces a lot of adrenaline. This makes you feel rushed. When you slow down your breathing, you automatically calm your body and mind.
Talk about it
Talking about your feelings is also a form of self-care. You don’t have to deal with all your worries alone. What is happening in the world right now affects us all. And because of that, you are not alone. People are social beings and this means we need each other. Find someone you can trust and talk about what keeps you up at night.
Knowing what goes on in the world is good. But at the same time, it is important to allow yourself to take a step back. Watching the news can cause you a lot of stress. Limit the amount of time you spend watching or reading the news to one moment per day. Try to select one source to get your information from and make sure it is a reliable source. There is a lot of fake news and misinformation going around and this is often clickbait, which will only strengthen your feelings of anxiety.
Decide upon when you want to watch the news. My advice is to avoid watching the news in the mornings and evenings. This will prevent you from having a stressful, and possibly, negative start and end of your day. When you watch the news at night, you increase the chance that you will take it to bed, which can lead to sleeping problems.
We have little to no control over the situation in Ukraine or any other countries that are at war. This can result in feelings of powerlessness. Luckily there is something you can do! You can participate in fundraising campaigns for people who have fled Ukraine or donate money to Giro 555 for example. There are many ways to still contribute.
Find help if necessary
Know that what you’re feeling is okay. I hope the above tips will give you some relief. But if you’re looking for more support, you can always visit your doctor for a referral to a psychologist. You don’t have to do this alone!