The Israel-Hamas war and other world events are taking a toll on us. Many are cycling through shock, fear, rage, sadness and disbelief, depending on personal viewpoints of the unfolding situation. Deep divisions are being fueled leading to broader fear of global impact. The stories and images of all of it are outside of what many are accustomed to and are able to process, let alone experience first hand.
The American Psychological Association recently put out a warning to monitor consumption of violent news and media to protect mental health because fear, anxiety and traumatic stress have long-term effects on health and well-being.
Here are some things you can do to take care of yourself:
- Monitor your media consumption. This includes social media. Understand your tipping point and limit yourself enough that you can stay aware yet protect yourself emotionally.
- Breathe to help manage your emotions. Your breath is an excellent anchor to the present and oxygen is an antidote to the stress hormone, cortisol. When you notice yourself feeling worried or angry, take 5 slow and deep breaths in through your nose and out through pursed lips.
- Name your feelings. And help your kids name theirs. Part of being human means having access to a deep well of emotions. The impact of unprocessed emotions can lead to suffering and acting out in unhealthy ways.
- Talk it out. Share your feelings with a friend, family member or community. Stay connected rather than isolated with your feelings.
- Turn into your bubble. Put your focus on self-care and those you care about. Find gratitude on what his happening in your immediate world, even if intermittently.
- Take care of your body. Get rest, eat healthy and move your body. Avoid over-use of substances to cope. If your physical body is functioning optimally, it will be better equipped to stave off the impact of stress on your immune system.
- Help as you are able to. Helping others can reduce stress and improve well-being. Find organizations that resonate and contribute your time or money as you are able to.