War on the Ukraine, how you can support your anxieties and uncertainties in worrying emotional times

Never in my life have I known such uncertainty as what’s in the world right now. Ukraine are enduring such heartbreak and devastation whilst we sit in trepidation torn between helping and averting war on a much larger scale

Just when we thought some normality was returning https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

With COVID no longer being the sole focus of the news, and as we find ways to live alongside COVID and accept that it’s part of our world we suddenly find ourselves plunged into another unstable situation that feels like we have little to no control over. The reality is that if Putin wanted to press the button on full-on war and launch nuclear missiles then we as the west can only respond or negotiate. As a world, we are walking a fine line. We can’t turn our back on Ukraine however we also have to try and diffuse an already hostile and unstable climate by not being overly antagonistic as the situation could get far worse and many millions more could die.

We don’t have to be directly affected to be deeply affected

I like millions of others have found myself deeply affected by the war Putin has rampaged on the Ukrainian people. I don’t know anybody from Ukraine on a personal level and yet I find myself in tears regularly as I watch helplessly as atrocities unfold. I sit there to form a safe chair in a safe home in a safe corner of the world and reflect how precious life is and how it can all change in a heartbeat. It’s a sombre reminder of atrocities of the past

The Power of Humanityhttps://www.hi-us.org/ukraine

I then look at how powerful humanity can be and I am filled with love and pride as I see a world uniting in a bid to support in whatever way we can. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, we are witnessing just how powerful we can be when we unite as one. We are seeing independent fundraising, humanitarian aid and even some people willing to stand up and fight alongside the Ukrainian people as they feel so compelled by the wrong doing. 

Unity and strength

I am reminded that one man seeks to create division and control and many more seek to find a way to help. We have seen unprecedented moves by countries, nations and the outpouring of support and love has demonstrated how far we have travelled as people come together to avert further wars whilst maintaining support for those that need it. 

One by one day by day stronger and stronger humanity unities.

I was astonished at just how quickly one by one we decided to stand up and be counted. Children pledge their pocket money as they think about all the other children that are affected. I even heard of one story whereby a polish couple drove into Ukraine to pick up an elderly couple that they had never met before as they both had medical needs. A motion that many of us looked at and felt pride at the humbleness of the gesture and a reminder of how united we can all be in coming to the aid of those that need it

Why Write a Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a

I considered several times over whether I should write this blog as I’m a therapist and not a politician and I don’t want to offend or open up the debate of what should or shouldn’t be done. Why I chose to write this is to share my observation that Putin may try to divide and control whilst millions of other people globally choose to show up in aid and shout from the rooftops “How can I help”.From unprecedented moves, we have seen from the notoriously neutral Switzerland to billionaires moving space stations to provide internet. 

Humankind

The outpouring of humankind has been vast and has touched me, schools collecting money, children sending pocket money. Volunteers use spare time to collect humanitarian aid and then others volunteer to take it over. People are all united in one cause and it’s a cause solely focused upon meeting the needs of others. People in their millions saying “what can I do to help?

War is not the answer

War is never the answer and as a world, we are showing that. Meeting only our own needs in life is not the answer as we show we care by being selfless. If we want to we can all play a role in supporting or helping and I wonder if in doing so we will be reminded how good it feels to love, be kind and think of others, help those that struggle and need our assistance.

Normalising Worries

Feeling anxious about the war is a very normal response. When we watch the suffering of others we feel empathy and sympathy towards their suffering. You may wonder if there is anything that you can do as you sit with those feelings of worry and anxiety. Talking and sharing our feelings and reaching out to others is a good way to help ease the burden we may well find that they feel just the same. It is ok to feel angry, it is ok to feel worried and concerned. It’s normal for us to react when we are witnessing another’s struggles, this is what makes us human and separates us from a machine. 

Correct Information

If you find yourself worrying about the potential for war in Europe you may find yourself scrolling and looking for updates and that may send your mind in a whirr. A way to help you may be to say be mindful of where you get information from and only listen to reputable sources. There are a lot of people out there all trying their best to avert this.

What about children?

You may have children and they may be worried too and you may be concerned about what to say. Having open and honest conversations and giving the children a safe space to share with you how they feel is beneficial and assuring for all.

Containing a racing mind

It’s important to try and not let your mind race ahead by remaining in this present moment. We can’t control what happens tomorrow no matter how much we try and how much we worry. We can’t go back and change the past the only thing that we have and what we can elicit a degree of control over is this very moment.

So you may think What can we do?

•           Talking – a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s amazing how much better we feel to talking to our friends or loves ones.

•           Are you a creative person? is so you may want to do a creative piece of artwork on what this means to you. I have used CANVA a lot’s this year maybe you paint or draw? these are all really good expressive ways of processing thoughts feelings and emotions.

•           Something that many of us use journals. Journalling is something that I use almost daily to figure out lots of things. Journaling is a good way to get our thoughts feeling and emotions put all own in one place so that we can reflect and process things. We can make it pretty using colour or pictures. I tend to write in different colours and I have a habit of drawing flowers. I found myself drawing roses which for me represented love and care represented I chose to make them yellow in support of Ukraine the thorns represented the hurt and pain and for me something that spoiled the beauty for me the thorns were Russia 

•           You may want to get your feelings down in a poem? There can be something very powerful in poetry. 

•           You may be musical and want to make a song – Get your feelings out there and share them with all that want to hear

•           You may want to use computers to make digital images and you may want to share how you feel on social media?

Sharing my process to give you an idea of how this can work

I wanted to know if I could do anything I asked myself what part could I play in helping and you may be thinking about this too. I used my journal to explore this. You may feel that playing a  helping role feels really important to you. Some have donated items from the house and others have volunteered time. I wrote down in my journal what a feasible way I can help and it really geared my decision making in a direction that felt really helpful I can share that once I had found a way I felt a sense of “doing something” and remember “doing something is different for us all. Maybe you have a faith position and praying is your contribution? 

These are anxious and worrying times and they are also painful times. These things can weigh us down at times and if we use the bucket analogy and we create some draining holes we can generally cope better. And if we cope better we stay stronger and the stronger we are the better.

Meeting your need and calming down the nervous system

  • Meeting your personal needs and calming down your nervous system
  • What would you like to do at this given moment?
  • What do you need at this moment to ease your worries and give you a release? 
  • Would doing that help boost your mood?
  • Is that achievable in this given moment? 
  • If that’s not achievable is there anything else?
  • How can you ground yourself and calm your anxiety?
  • Are you creative, perhaps sewing or baking……….. or like me crochet?
  • Do you need coffee and a cake with a friend and share your feelings?
  • Do you need to do for a walk and clear your mind and go for a long walk or do some exercise?
  • Do you need to relax in a nice bath with your favourite candles and music?
Important to remember

It’s really important that we look after ourselves and each other in times like this and hopefully this little blog help to give perspective and balance on how we can help and take care of ourselves at the same time. 

Something that helps me is noting that out of incredible suffering has come moving human kindness and unity and love. 

Much love

Paula

Standing together

With Ukraine

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