If The War In Ukraine Is Causing You Anxiety, Here’s How To Deal With It

Last updated by Katie M.

War. For countless days, I have been hearing this word over and over again, and it still manages to torment me every time. Just writing it down seems unrealistic, yet here we are. The letters appear, but the word doesn’t seem to register in my mind. Although I see it on every news channel, it's there, and so close by. The thousands of dead people, the huge exodus, and the bloodshed are getting to me. Seeing all the unrest on our doorstep is a horrible feeling, and one that puts my brain into overdrive. Despite being confronted with such grim prospects, there are ways to manage the anxiety and worry that this uncertainty provokes.

A shocking and unprecedented situation

I get up and everything is quiet. At home, everyone is still sleeping. Outside a dog barks, a garbage truck passes by as normal, and I catch myself cursing life because there is no more coffee. The chaos is internal, I'm scared, I'm anxious, I feel on edge, as if thousands of fingers are probing my brain and whispering: nuclear weapon, condemnation, punishment, general mobilization, death, and so on 😱. However, none of this is actually going on in my apartment, but it's right next door. It's anxiety-provoking, it's complicated to live with, but I'm not suffering... not truly anyway. How does one cope with all these feelings in the middle of such a shocking and unprecedented situation?

Anxiety about war in Ukraine- The chaos is internal, I am afraid, and I am worried. -

The situation in Ukraine makes me anxious, what can I do about it? - 3 Things

No doubt, many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the Ukrainian crisis. As with every conflict, we have the impression that we only see innocent people suffering and losing their homes and livelihoods. 👉 It's normal to feel like this, we are afraid, we are up against the unknown. There is no need to add guilt to this. We need to put everything into perspective, every situation is worse than another, but denying our emotions has never prevented them from existing.

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1. Detach yourself

In a crisis, I get addicted to news channels. At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I was having so many anxiety attacks that I had to block news notifications on my phone. When last weekend I found myself making mental lists of what I should take with me if I had to flee, I decided to turn off the TV and take a break from social media. There’s no way I'm going to bury my head in the sand, shut out the world, shut out the news and pretend it's all far away or doesn't exist. But rather than crying 10 times a day in front of the same sad story played on repeat, I’ve decided to only tune in for a few minutes a day.

Speaking of news outlets, beware also of fake news, which can also generate a lot of anxiety and other negative feelings. In general, avoid relaying information and if you do, check the content of what you share.

2. Talk, and get help

I tend to suffer from eco-anxiety, political-anxiety and while the health crisis seemed to be coming to an end, and life was getting back to normal, Vladimir Putin decided otherwise. And here I am, afraid of dying from a nuclear bomb. The invasion in Ukraine has put an end to my hopes. I imagined having another child, and now I imagine the horrors that my son will read in his history book.

This war is adding to the general fatigue that many of us were already feeling, so it's okay to feel bad. We are exhausted and on top of that we are in the midst of uncertainty. We need to talk about the subject, to talk about our fears, our stupor. And if you don't dare to confide in your loved ones, psychologists and other therapists can help you calm down and manage your fears. One thing is for sure, you have to talk about what you feel.

3. Helping out

Finally, being supportive is also a way to protect your mental health and to mute your worries. Withdrawing into yourself doesn't help. One can then choose to participate in the various solidarity actions that are being set up. Donation collections, refugee reception, demonstrations, etc. If you feel guilty about the anguish you feel, it is because you are showing empathy, so use it wisely. Getting involved and helping is also a way to unite with others and recreate a form of peace 😊.

Editor's opinion: It's normal to be stressed!

If there's one thing to remember, it's that it's normal to be stressed, to be anxious and to wonder what kind of world our children will grow up in. Those who tell you they don't know or aren't affected by the situation are simply adopting another strategy (👋 hello defense mechanisms). My advice should allow you to regain some calm and serenity, but if you continue to feel deep anxiety, lose sleep over it, consult a psychologist.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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