You are not alone. Many people are experiencing increased anxiety and depression.
Incase the post holiday hangover and frigid temps (and their accompanying gray skies) aren’t enough to contend with, many people are finding that the strife going on politically and in the world is causing them to feel helpless, hopeless, frustrated, sad and sometimes even angry.
On top of all that we have the pressures of just our own bubble to deal with- taking care of children, and /or a job or business, and the challenges that interpersonal relationships inherently bring all add to the challenges.
Whether its war between Russia and Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza, financial challenges both personally and globally, climate change concerns, and /or observing the political chaos that has created a divisive cloud of contention over our country, there is a lot to be gloomy about.
This week I had a client dealing with overwhelming sadness, grief, frustration and anger about what is going on in the world. I must admit, I could feel her pain as I’ve had many of the same feelings about the things that sadden and anger her. ( We counselors are human too.)
While this definitely won’t be a blog about what to do to fix the seemingly endlessly broken world we all inhabit, perhaps there may be a nugget for you to consider to better cope with it, in the following:
1. Allow yourself to both identify and feel what you are feeling. Feeling sad, angry, grieved, hopeless or helpless means you have a heart and you are capable of compassion and those are good things. Allow yourself time and space to identify and then feel these feelings. It is incredibly important to do this.
2. Engage in physical activity daily. This is something important for all of us that becomes even more critical to do when our mood and emotions are being challenged. Physical activity has profound benefits for our emotional and mental health as well as our physical bodies. When you work out, you are benefiting all the above.
3. Do a News Fast or Reduction. In other words, do not allow yourself to take in bad news every day constantly. Set times of the day that you will allow yourself to watch or listen to the news. Keep your exposure to no more than 20 – 30 minutes a day.
4. Give yourself time to process what you take in. Taking time to process seeing, hearing or reading the news might look like taking time to journal and document what is going on in the world. You might then take time to notice how you are feeling. Ask yourself what you might need in the moment… to journal feelings, have a good cry, or go take a walk might all be examples of activities that may be beneficial.
5. Choose one Cause, Issue or Non Profit and get involved. When we choose one place to pour out our energy with either our time and / or our money, it helps us feel empowered that we can make a difference in what feels like insurmountable issues. Pick one thing and give of yourself in some way to that organization or cause.
6. Be the change. As trite as it sounds, be more of what you want to see in the world. Do you want to see more kindness? Do kind things for yourself and others. Be invested in engaging in the thoughts and actions that bring about more of what you hope for in the world.
7. Don’t participate in the divisiveness politically. When you encounter those with different viewpoints, consider either the option of setting a boundary that says, “I’m willing to talk to you about anything other than politics.”, or, if you are able to show up open minded and curious, ask questions about the other persons views without injecting anything which may sound or feel attacking. Remember we all have much more in common than our differences. So be curious rather than contentious.
8. Bring in more of what brings you joy. Whether that is spending time with your bestie, going on a winter hike, taking a day off work to play with the kids or go on an outing… consider who and what makes your heart happy and pursue those people, things and experiences.
9. Lean into your faith. If you are someone who has a religious or spiritual belief and faith, now is a great time to lean into it. Consider the bigger picture of what is going on in the world. Contemplate what the bible or your book of faith has to offer for some needed perspective. Immerse yourself in the things about your faith that bring you comfort. Remind yourself that all things here are temporary. We are just passing through.
For some, the level of frustration, sadness and anger can feel overwhelming at times. It is incredibly important to learn how to manage those intense feelings and not cause harm to yourself or others as a result. If you have trouble self- managing your strong emotions, please reach out to a competent mental health professional. There are some on the Live Well Kitsap site, at livewellkitsap.com/mind-your-health.
Help is available, so seek it if these feelings are interfering with your ability to work, show up in meaningful ways at work or at home, or you are noticing an inability to feel joy about much of anything.
These are tough times. There are extraordinary challenges happening both at home and abroad.
In order to survive and thrive, we need to be intentional about how we think about the things that are distressing so we don’t get swallowed up in the things we cannot control.
Focus today on one thing you can control so you can boost your mental / emotional health.
And join us for the Live Well Kitsap Transformation event happening now. One more way to bring more wellbeing into your life.
Enjoy the Journey.