The news is very dark and heavy right now with the events in Ukraine. In Saskatchewan, many people come from Ukraine. We all have people we know and love with friends and family there. Our Psychologist Olivia Dangas has some important information to help you through the difficult and worrisome days.
How to Cope with Stress Due to the War in Ukraine (and/or Other Major World Events)
The recent invasion on Ukraine has undoubtedly affected us all in some way or another.
While we all have different connections to what is happening in Ukraine, common experiences that are arising include extremely heightened levels of fear and anxiety.
Here are some helpful tips in managing these times and navigating our emotions.
- Reflect on how you feel after consuming media material
While staying up to date on the current events is important and helpful, it is also vital that we check in with ourselves about how we feel after we engage with media material. For some, having the news on in the background at all hours of the day feels empowering and supportive, but for others, being constantly exposed to news material may actually increase fear and anxiety. There is no right or wrong answer, but making sure our media use is helpful and not harmful for us as individuals is an important reflection to engage in.
2. Choose reputable sources of information
With any worldly scale event comes mass information. Believing everything we read or see can also contribute to our stress and anxiety. It is important to consider the sources of information we are reading and sharing and to try to focus on finding original, reputable sources. Not everything is accurate, so be cautious about what you choose to share.
3. Allow all emotions, even conflicting ones
It is ok and perfectly normal to experience a wide variety of emotions right now.
For example, we may be heartbroken over the state of the world and scared for what the future might look like. But we can also feel guilt for living our normal lives or not feeling overly affected or impacted. Conversely, we can also be excited for things in our upcoming futures or proud of personal accomplishments. All emotions are valid and meant to be felt! We move through them by acknowledging and expressing them. Trying to do this with compassion for ourselves and our feelings (versus judgment) is also helpful.
4. Focus on what you can control and how you can contribute
Many of us are feeling helpless with being so far away. It can be helpful to find small ways to advocate and contribute within your community. For example, attend a rally, donate to a reputable charity or non-profit, or support a local fundraiser (there are many going on here in Saskatoon). Providing support in these ways is something that we can control (the war itself is something we cannot control) and helps us to be able to feel like we are making a difference.
5. Build and use your support system
We cannot get through something like this on our own. It is so important to reach out to our supports and to talk and share concerns and feelings. When we keep everything in and carry it on our own, the burden becomes cumbersome and overwhelming. Supporting each other is at the core of us all getting through this! Check in on your family and friends, they could appreciate it more than you realize.
Thank you so much, Olivia. This is really helpful and important information.
If you’re finding life difficult to deal with right now, Olivia would love to work with you.
She works with Adults and Youth 13+.
Take care of yourself and the ones you love,