Clearly, there is a lot going on in the world. I’m not sure we’ve seen so many crises consecutively in quite some time. Between the pandemic, the war against Ukraine, mass school shootings, and the Roe v Wade reversal, many people are struggling with anxiety and depression. The point of this article is to help you cope. Oftentimes we go to a doctor for a check-up, but when was the last time you saw a therapist for a mental health check-up? Maybe it’s time…
Ask yourself the following questions to get a sense as to how you are managing the stress and what else you can do to cope effectively:
- How much news am I watching, listening to and/or reading each day?
- How do I feel after watching, listening to and/or reading the news?
- Do I find myself having dreams about war, shootings, covid or anything related to the news?
- Have I lost sleep due to any of the stress in the world?
- Has my appetite changed due to any of the stress in the world? (Gained weight or lost weight)
- Do I see friends often enough?
- Do I participate in activities just for pure joy/pleasure/ entertainment?
- Am I more agitated than usual?
- Am I crying more than usual?
- Do I have any suicidal thoughts or feelings?
If you answered yes to number 10, having suicidal thoughts or feelings, please stop reading this now and call 911.
Questions 1-9 are you monitoring yourself and noticing if there have been significant changes in your mood, behavior, thoughts and feelings. If there have been, know that this is totally understandable. The stress is real and it is normal to react and respond to it all. Some people react and respond more significantly than others. Here are some healthy ways to cope:
- Exercise daily-even if it’s a 10 minute walk-move your body every day!
- Meditate-try any of the apps for meditation or the free ones you can find online. (Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit or Insight Timer are all good ones!)
- Talk with friends about your concerns.
- Seek out a therapist (feel free to reach out to me if you have trouble finding one; I’m happy to help you connect with one if I’m not a good fit for you).
- Listen to music.
- Watch Netflix, movies, mindless tv.
- Draw, sing, paint, color (adult coloring books are awesome!)
- Knit, crochet, golf, play any sport.
- Journal-write down your thoughts and feelings daily.
- Scream at the top of your lungs (in privacy as to not scare anyone around you.)
There’s more but what we know now is that life has pain and joy. Find more joy to help you cope with the pain.