Surviving The Anxiety In Pandemic
The pandemic brought two years of anxiety, stress, lockdowns, depression, racial hate crimes, etc. We have a new threat sending shockwaves of fear and anxiety, which relates to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
From “WWIII” becoming a trend on social media to the Baby Boomers remembering the nuclear war threats that came along with the Cold War between the USSR and the United States, and those that remembered living through all kinds of wars are all feeling this tension in many different ways. While international trauma may affect people diversely, fortunately, there are many things you could do to address the anxiety that comes along with it.
One major factor contributing to this widespread anxiety is headline hysteria. While reading the news is very helpful when it comes to an understanding of what’s going on in the world right now. However, the news may be negatively affecting your mental health. Just like during the heights of the pandemic, where we’d be reading news reports of countless COVID death updates, headlines induce fear just as much as they offer information; they are meant to capture attention, after all.
So how do we deal with the flow of knowledge when it becomes overwhelming? It’s essential to be honest with yourself and ask yourself these questions: “what are my limits? How much is too much?” This all leads to the dreadful thought of limiting exposure to social media. The war in Ukraine is a trending topic, so it may not be easy to avoid, but also it’s essential to know that we can’t prevent diving into it forever. Knowing how much information you can absorb is the best thing you can do to practice mindful behavior.
Something to keep in mind is that even though taking a break from the news is a great way to help yourself take it easy with anxiety, showing compassion to others during these times could provide a relief that you can make a difference despite the atrocities. Do you know anyone who is Ukrainian and may be worried about their family members? Others who have lived through similar invasions? Keep in mind that there may be people dealing with PTSD currently during these times. However, lending an ear can make a difference to someone struggling to get through this emotionally, and helping someone could provide you with some relief.
While these are great ways to deal with the stresses that come with war headlines, there is still one thought: the possibility of a nuclear war, which there is, but there’s not a substantial likelihood of that happening. When we focus too much on the “what if,” there isn’t room to let ourselves breathe. If we take the time to truly focus on how our thoughts affect our emotions in the present, we could learn how to handle events like these, as overwhelming as they may be. That’ll help us take our heads out of the headlines and turn our thought process into figuring out how we can process information in a way that doesn’t harm us.