2020 was full of so much promise. A fresh new decade all sparkling clean and new!
It has though, been rough so far. Here in Australia there’s been the ongoing relentless drought, all the dreadful bushfires, now torrential rain and flooding (plus throw in a possible cyclone or two) and then there is the global crisis of Coronavirus (first reported in Wuhan, China).
TV and social media is full of ‘deadly’ this and ‘unprecedented’ that and this does start to have an impact on our mental health. It is psychologically proven that constant exposure to bad/frightening/traumatic news can not only affect our mood but can trigger anxiety, fear, panic and even depression.
Obviously those directly impacted by these events endure unimaginable trauma, but there is also trauma caused by constant exposure to these kind of news reports and articles. Social media means that exposure is not just the 6pm news and a daily newspaper anymore. It’s at our fingertips 24/7 as we are nearly all glued to our smart phones during our waking hours these days.
So what can we do to help protect ourselves?
Tips on how to protect yourself from over exposure to ongoing traumatic news:
- Switch off your TV – don’t be drawn in to watching the same catastrophic/unprecedented/traumatic news on repeat over and over.
- Stop the scrolling. Switch off your phone. Take a break from social media.
- Avoid watching TV or scrolling social media on your phone just before bed as what you see and/or read may affect your ability to sleep and good sleep is important for your wellbeing.
- Do something nice for yourself – e.g. soak in a bath, meet a friend for coffee or lunch.
- Remember to eat well and drink plenty of water – keep your body healthy!
- Continue on with life as usual – don’t let life grind to halt and overwhelm take over. Breathe!
- Get in touch with how you’re feeling. It might help talking with friends and/or relatives or perhaps seeing a therapist might be helpful. Either way – don’t push your feelings down or ignore them – take note of them and find a way to process them that suits you.
- Get involved. We can often suffer ‘survivor guilt’ for not being directly affected by the trauma that we are seeing and reading about in the media. We can feel helpless. What can help with this is to get involved … but only to the level that is appropriate for you. For example – donate money, volunteer your time to help out where possible, use your talents to assist – eg for the bushfires – knitting, sewing, crocheting for the injured wildlife.
Remember the saying ‘we can’t pour from an empty cup’ – well that applies in this circumstance as well. We must look after ourselves in order to be any help to others. Whilst we’re on the topic of quotes – take note of the Rumi quote in the image above as it basically provides the same message. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish. It is essential.
… and hey, Happy Valentines day for tomorrow! Make sure you do something fun for yourself whether you have a significant other to do it with or not. Go out for dinner, grab takeaway, or go for a nice walk out in nature. If it’s torrential rain (like it has been where I live lately) maybe opt for a soak in a lovely warm bath followed by dinner and a movie! Do at least one nice thing just for you – cos I say so, ok!
Ciao for now,
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