When the News is Sad

by Adapt Training and Development

Our self-care tips typically begin with a doing word—practice this, try that – because self-care is active. But, sometimes feeling the heaviness of what is happening in the world and the suffering of people makes “doing” more difficult.  An article from CNN on why the news is making us anxious mentions all of us having “low emotional reserves” right now—ongoing pandemic, a divided time in our country and all of our own individual ups and downs. It is hard to absorb something else. Yet, it is important to find a way to not look away from what is happening in the world and also not drown in it.

Should you be having a similar struggle, here are some ideas to balance bearing witness to world events with self-care:

  • Consider how much news consumption is right for you. The 24 hour news cycle gives us unprecedented access to information (and images) but can also overwhelm us. Remember, we can be caring without totally immersing ourselves in every update.
  • An early pandemic article on CalmMoment suggests these steps:
    • Acknowledge the feelings that are coming up.
    • Pause and just allow yourself to sit with the feelings without fighting them for a minute.
    • Pull back / let go of all that is out of our control.
    • Explore mindfulness. Try to really settle into the present moment: Your breathing; What you see, what you hear, what you smell, and so on. This “grounding” ourselves can help preventing our worries or our sadness from getting too big. If you have time and like yoga, this 30 minute video on “Breathing Through Challenging Times” (from Vista Wellness Center) might be something to try.
  • Look for ways to take action—I know people who have the Ukrainian flag flying alongside their American flags on their homes. Other people have yellow and blue balloons tied to a tree in front of their homes. Some people make donations to humanitarian organizations; others may contact their elected officials. Many people use prayer to practice deep compassion for others.

There are many ways to put caring into action.