I’m sitting at a table with a group of friends. We’re all having a good time, laughing, and chatting. Someone brings up a current news story– war, climate change, political acrimony – whatever terrifying event that’s making headlines.
And every time without fail, I freeze. I can feel the anxiety pulsing through me as I try to nod along. Eventually, after everyone has had their say and mutually decided how scary whatever is going in the world is, they move on. But I’ll stay there, still frozen at that moment. Still paralyzed with fear as my brain searches for a solution for a situation that’s, let’s be real here, I cannot possibly fix myself.
The past few years the news has felt particularly daunting. In the age of social media, it’s nearly impossible to be uninformed. Every day, at every moment we are exposed to a new story, the latest update in a terrifying saga that never seems to end. I, for one, am a definite catastrophe. Many of us feel the need to endlessly doom scroll, hoping that keeping ourselves informed will help to navigate through the uncertainty.
If current affairs have left you feeling a similar way, consider this article a lifeline, a compilation of the top things I’ve found helpful in trying to cope with these trying times.
Reach out to likeminded people.
Finding someone to share your anxieties with really can make all the difference. There’s something comforting about having someone admit that they too are scared, that they feel helpless, that they haven’t a clue what to do. The barrage of Instagram infographics can often be daunting, making it feel like everyone else has risen to the occasion and is out there doing their bit. Sometimes all you really need is someone else to reach out and hold your hand as you try to navigate the uncertainty together.
Find a cause to support
I truly believe that everyone can make a difference with their actions – no matter how small they may seem. There are so many different ways you can help, whether that be attending protests, raising money, or donating supplies. As people in a privileged position, we often forget that even seemingly small actions can affect others in major ways.
Step away from the internet
Often in times of crisis, my gut response is to ingest brain melting amount of information, as I feel that being informed gives me some semblance of control over the situation. During the 2020 presidential election, my Spotify wrapped up 2577 minutes (about 2 days) worth of the New York Times news podcast the Daily –42 hours in total. This kind of information binge usually just intensifies the anxiety, so I encourage you instead to put the phone down and focus on things that actually make you feel better – whether that be journaling, exercises or some external self-care.