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Staff Counselling Centre

 

While uncertainty and lack of control of circumstances are very common in our world, that does not necessarily stop us from becoming anxious in the face of global troubles. Knowing this, what can we do to best care for ourselves and others in the face of a seemingly never-ending tide of troubles?

Since the Brexit vote in 2016, it feels like the media has delivered a diet of non-stop negativity; the protracted and complex process of leaving the EU, an unprecedented global pandemic still unfolding that has had a major impact on our way of life and now the abject tragedy of the war in Ukraine.

Of course, our human response of fear and distress is natural. It is nevertheless important for us to practise self-care and help those we love in order to remain well and therefore cope by strengthening our resilience.  A constant state of high alert propels us into flight/fight/freeze mode and fills our body with chemicals that compromise our immune system increasing the likelihood of us becoming ill.

So what is helpful for both self-care as well as caring for those around us?

This almost certainly requires taking a break from continuous or over-watching/listening to/reading the news and all the uncertainty that this unleashes.  It can be helpful for example, to restrict news to the morning, so that it is less likely to interfere with sleep. 

Be especially mindful of radios and TVs on when your children are around, and newspapers left open.  Young people will try to make their own sense of what they see and hear and can become highly anxious. The news is everywhere so do not avoid their questions as this can increase fear, but rather, try to respond in an age appropriate and containing way.  Encourage the sharing of feelings.

Acknowledge and validate children’s feelings; you might explain that there have been many wars in other parts of the World that have ended – perhaps look at a map together.  Reassure them that there are lots of people involved in the pursuit of peace. Talk about the efforts being made to send aid and provide refuge, thereby exposing them – and you – to the compassion of humanity.

Teenagers are more likely to have greater freedom to access the media, so speak openly to them about being selective regarding the sources of information they trust and discourage news overload, especially endless speculation.

Get involved in providing help in whatever capacity you are able – look at social media to see what is happening near you.  Helping others is not only good for them, it also strengthens community ties – satisfying one of our basic needs for connection – and it gives us a sense of purpose, vital for good mental health.  And encourage family members also to become involved.

Remember, as always, to eat well and drink alcohol only in moderation; it can worsen depression and anxiety and disrupt sleep.  Engage in mindful activity that you enjoy; for example, walking, cycling, music, craft, baking, yoga, meditation.   Give your mind frequent breaks from the negativity. Talk to friends and family and benefit from the comfort of being supported and sharing the perspective of others.  Socialise and engage in pleasurable activities without guilt.  Such activity is not an indicator of indifference - we really need to do this in order to stay well.

Ensure you have enough rest and sleep, practise self-compassion – each of us can only do our bit – and above all else, always hold on to hope.  And remember that the Staff Counselling Centre is here for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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