It’s normal to feel anxious when faced with uncertainty and there is a lot of uncertainty with the Ukraine invasion. Even if you or loved ones aren’t personally affected, the situation coming right after an isolating global pandemic is bound to cause stress, anxiety and fear. Regardless of if the anxiety is coming from feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, past circumstances, or empathy, here are some ways to cope:
Focus on the Good
After acknowledging and accepting how you feel, it’s helpful to not dwell on those feelings. Despite this unsettling situation, there is plenty of good happening too. There is a lot of compassion and humanitarian efforts from people all over the world. One way to focus on the positive is to support those individuals and organizations donating their time, energy and money to help those in need. You could write to politicians, donate to organizations supporting Ukraine, or go volunteer locally.
Practicing gratitude could also be helpful: daily journaling of what you are thankful for might help you focus on the good that also exists. Showing compassion to those impacted by the situation takes the focus off your anxiety. If you know someone who is Ukrainian or worried about family members in Ukraine, dealing with PTSD from a past similar invasion, or fearing military deployment, offer moral support and a listening ear.
Connect with Community
Unfortunately coronavirus caused isolation isn’t helpful in situations like this. It’s important to know you aren’t alone and that these feelings of anxiety are normal. It’s crucial to connect with others as those affected by the conflict in Ukraine need the support of each other. If you aren’t able to safely meet up with friends in person, even a phone or video call could help. Or chat with people online who have similar interests as you.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Often times worries are related to the future and about uncertainty around what could potentially happen. Meditating and practicing breathing techniques are some ways to stay in the present moment. Being mindful of emotions and accepting them as learning tools might also help you combat anxiety related to Ukraine.
Limit Ukraine Related Media Consumption
Although it is important to be aware of others’ experiences, it is easy to get too caught up with scrolling through headlines, news articles and related content on social media. This can be especially triggering to those experiencing ptsd from past experiences similar to the situation in Ukraine. Instead of burying yourself in the tragedy, opt for a podcast, book, social app based on conversation instead of content, or an entertaining movie.
Speak to a Therapist
Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals as they can give you are more personalized strategy for dealing with feelings related to the crisis.