A never-ending cocktail of emotions.
The war in Ukraine is unjust and cruel, and it hurts like hell - I think most people feel that. I have always been empathetic and compassionate, but I never thought that these qualities, which I think are so valuable, would make it so difficult for me to function. Especially now. Of course, my emotions are not comparable to those of the Ukrainian people, but I believe that many of us feel the same way. Waves of anger, helplessness, fear and mourning overwhelm us every day, and there is no end in sight to this cocktail of emotions. What happens is fast-moving and unpredictable, and we are forced to learn to adapt to the unpredictable. By keeping up with what is happening, it is important for me to regulate my emotions and preserve some of my resources to be able to look after myself, my family and my fellow human beings.
What helped me understand how to be?
It is important for me to be present and informed, but at the same time I felt that my resources were not enough for everything.
We are only human. Most of us have a family, a home, a job or a business to look after. And in the middle of it all, we are ourselves. Of all those who have spoken on this subject, I personally was most struck by Ilze Dzenovska insights and suggestions on how to self-regulate and find the resources to ground oneself in these circumstances. Ilze is a mediator with a background in conflict resolution and peace-building and her words are certainly relevant to more than just me at the moment, so I decided to share some concrete insights that might be useful in this turbulent everyday life.
First, why is it so important to take responsibility for ourselves?
If we lack internal resources, our participation in every process will not only be ineffective, but also at high risk of burnout. Ilse's point that if I don't take care of myself in time, I can become a rescuable person, a victim, was particularly memorable. And the world does not need more victims. It is important to take care of yourself so that you become a resource in your world, not a burden. Our needs are still here, no one has taken them away. And if we ignore them, there are the risks mentioned above. That is why it is vital to eat, drink, breathe, keep moving and keep doing the things that help you feel needed, safe, fulfilled. I am not saying that I manage to do this every day in these circumstances. But I try.
Practical tips on how to self-regulate and ground yourself.
From what Ilse said, I took some practical suggestions as the most useful. I believe that by practising them on a daily basis I can get closer to myself, so I would like to share them in the hope that perhaps some of what follows might be useful for you too.
1 Accept your emotions and let yourself react
It is very important not to repress your emotions, to accept them, to let yourself be. Shout it out, get angry - do what your body asks you to do. But at the same time, it is important to be able to separate emotions from thoughts, to access your rational mind and to be in control of when to let go.
2. Make conscious time to take care of yourself
In the endless whirlwind of news, it's hard to see and hear anything else, so it's easy to get emotionally uncomfortable. And yet it is our duty to ourselves to consciously schedule time to be with ourselves in the way that your body and mind are asking you to. Go for a walk in the woods, sing, go for a run, read a book, do a little dance, listen to good music. All this is an investment in your emotional stability and I believe that the world needs it in these circumstances.
3. Evaluate where and how much you engage in dialogue with others
There are countless opinions and views about what is happening in the world. But again, it is our responsibility to ourselves to assess how much to engage in social dialogues with others and how much to let these emotions in. I clearly believe that it is important for all of us to take a firm stand against the Putin regime. And yet, particularly empathetic people tend to find it difficult not to take in the world around them. Assess where you are willing to engage and set firm boundaries when you are not.
4. Focus on your existing responsibilities
What are your needs and responsibilities? It could be caring for people, caring for animals, caring for your business, eating a healthy and balanced diet or other everyday issues that are important to you. None of this is cancelled. Of course, there are things and circumstances that you can take a break from, because it is important to balance your resources. And yet, if these daily concerns make you feel more fulfilled and allow you to feel a little closer to yourself, do it.
If the above resonated with you, I heartily recommend listening to Ilze Dzenovska's Live Instagram on this topic. Recording available here.
Creator and CEO of Vegan Fox