acquiesce - April 28th, 2022

Dealing with Anxiety During the Crisis in Ukraine

After having only just emerged from the coronavirus pandemic and suddenly entered a new crisis after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, many of us have been left feeling shocked and overwhelmed at the news and all of the upsetting footage that has been circulating around it.

These feelings of anxiety, distress and upset are completely normal in circumstances such as these, particularly after we have spent two years living in a state of sustained trauma.

Unfortunately, for people struggling with addiction, such overwhelming feelings can often lead to a relapse if not managed carefully.

In this guide, we’re going to be explaining some of the ways in which you can deal with anxiety during the crisis in Ukraine.

Take Breaks from the News

Make sure to take frequent breaks from looking at the news and social media. If you find yourself becoming distressed from the content you’re viewing, it’s time to put your phone down and try to take your mind off it.

It’s important to not become obsessed with every detail and update of what’s going on. Avoid following the news as it unfolds and instead set yourself a short amount of time to check it each day, but not just after waking up or right before you go to bed.

Also remember to stick to credible news sources. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter can host a lot of misinformation and scaremongering, which can lead to unnecessary worry. 

Take Care of Yourself

In order to feel better, you need to take care of yourself and that starts with a good diet, exercise and plenty of sleep.

Although the link between what we eat and our mental health is complicated, research has found strong connections between our diet and how we feel. Eating healthier food and maintaining a good diet promotes the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, which influences the production of neurotransmitters which help to combat stress. 

On the other hand, a diet that is filled with processed unhealthy foods can lead to inflammation of the gut which negatively impacts the production of neurotransmitters and lowers your mood.

Sugar is a common culprit of this type of inflammation, although it causes a temporary spike in feel good transmitters such as dopamine, it is followed shortly by a crash, causing you to feel stressed and in a poor mood

Similarly, exercise has also been proven to be an effective stress reliever as it releases endorphins- the natural substances that help you feel better. If exercise isn’t already part of your routine, you might want to start with something simple such as going for a walk.

Finally, one of the best ways to take care of your mind and body is to get enough sleep. Sleep allows your body to recharge and remain healthy and without enough of it, the brain cannot function properly, causing us to feel tired, stressed and in a bad mood.

Stick to a Routine

Getting into a daily routine is a good way to help things feel more predictable in uncertain times. Our brains and bodies love consistency and behavioural patterns, so the more familiar our daily behaviours become, the better our minds are at coping with difficult times.

Not only that, but creating a routine also ensures you stay occupied throughout the day, instead of allowing yourself to sit around focusing on the news.

To get a daily routine started, try simple things to begin with such as getting up at the same time every day, having breakfast, getting ready and going for a walk. In the evenings, you should come away from your screens at least 30 minutes before bed and try a calming activity such as reading to wind down before going to sleep.

Allow Yourself to Cry

Times like these can be very upsetting and emotional, so it’s perfectly normal to cry. 

Although you may not want to cry, letting your emotions out actually has a healing effect as it releases endorphins.

Reach Out to Loved Ones

Keeping your feelings to yourself can become very isolating, so make sure to reach out to friends and family and let them know how you’re feeling. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and even just having someone to listen to us can help us to feel supported and boost our emotions.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to loved ones, you can also speak to a therapist or mental health service.

Only Help if You Can

There are many different ways in which we can help those struggling with the crisis in Ukraine, from dropping off supplies at your local collection point or donating to charities that are helping those in need, however, you should only help if you can afford to and if you are in a positive state of mind about doing so.

Reach out to Your Recovery Practitioner

If you’re currently struggling to cope with anxiety around the Ukraine crisis and you are worried that you’re at risk of a relapse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your practitioner at Acquiesce and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help you.

For more information and advice on mental health and addiction, check out our guides and articles here.

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