Here’s the thing: staying glued to news programs can overwhelm you, release stress hormones, and cause insomnia, worry, and unnecessary anxiety.
Control what you put in your brain
I’m not saying don’t watch the news, but know when to turn it off or temporarily disengage. Events are unfolding at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up. Immersing yourself in the negativity without taking breaks for helpful and healing activities will affect your thoughts and your body negatively.
I experienced this myself. Quite unexpectedly, I felt like I just couldn’t handle another piece of information. We can get overwhelmed with information coming through the radio, TV, friends, family, neighbors, or social media. We may not know what to think or what to do. We may become hyper-vigilant, trying to keep up, putting our flight or fight survival mode into overdrive. This means dealing with an excess of hormones like cortisol (which can cause, among other things, slower healing, weakness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, high blood pressure, and headaches) and adrenaline (which, among other things, increases heart rate and blood pressure). It also means that our hippocampus and amygdala won’t be able to store short-term memories properly, and you may find yourself feeling scatterbrained. Stress and anxiety negatively affect memory.
What you can do
Take frequent breaks from the input. Taking breaks can also feel overwhelming and traumatizing at first. It’s important to know that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, feeling stressed, or anxious, you should turn off the media and do something healing for yourself. Take a bath or a shower, clean a room, rearrange your pantry, clean out a drawer, take inventory of your supplies, journal, reach out to a friend; anything that will make you feel better and serve as a distraction from the situation. Think of all the things you can do to make yourself feel better, and use that list over the next several weeks.
Think back to a time when you felt overwhelmed, and life was uncertain, and you got through it. Remind yourself that you coped then, and you will this time, too. Focus less on the changes and uncertainty and instead focus on centering, grounding, and calming yourself. Go back to watching the news when you feel you can handle it. Watch in short doses, taking short breaks in between.
If you’re stuck at home, use this new gift of time to do the things you’ve been putting off. Get started writing that book, read to your kids, organize your digital photos, and organize a closet. You get the idea. Think of the things you’ve been wanting to do and wish you had the time to do, then start doing them. It’s amazing what getting into the “flow“ does to make you feel accomplished.
Connect with people using social media. See if you have “Nextdoor.com” for your neighborhood and connect electronically with your neighbors. You can share information about stores and product availability, other resources, and important information.
Check-in on elderly loved ones and elderly neighbors. Help whoever you can.
Read uplifting material, whether it’s a spiritual text, poetry, or old love letters. Watch comedies. Read that book you’ve been wanting to read!
Journal! Not only will writing get worries off your mind, but it could be a keepsake for your children, later on, a historical record of what’s happening and your thoughts and feelings about it.
Do something physically challenging for stress relief. Jog in place, or pull out one of those old exercise videos and have at it. Make a game of it with your kids. Movement feels good and releases endorphins and other calming hormones. So does guided meditation, yoga, and stretching. Do the things that help you feel grounded, like praying or gratitude exercises.
Control what you’re eating. Sugars and carbs cause inflammation, and inflammation lowers immunity.
Six things that keep your immunity high
- Eat healthy foods in moderation and take a daily multivitamin.
- Exercise for 30 minutes daily.
- Get enough sleep.
- Wash your hands.
- Minimize or stop alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking. Now is a great time!
Make time for yourself
As we become accustomed to these new events and our new temporary lifestyle, let’s put ourselves on our own to-do lists. Make yourself a priority too. Remember, airlines always tell us to put on our own oxygen masks before assisting others. There’s a reason for that: you’re not going to be of any use to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Stay well and stay healthy, my friends.
Conscious awareness: Be aware and make conscious choices before acting. Self-awareness releases us from making impulsive and potentially damaging decisions. Learn about setting boundaries
Self-care: We can only choose to focus on and be responsible for ourselves, our own thoughts, actions, and behavior. The good news is that we can change ourselves with patience, persistence, and practice. We can take responsibility for getting our needs met, instead of waiting for someone to change or meet our needs for us. We are in control of ourselves and no one is responsible for us but us.
Learn about codependency and maladaptive coping skills
Learn about C-PTSD
Recognize the Cycle of Abuse
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About the Author
As a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home, and with the help of professional therapists and continued personal growth, Diane Metcalf developed strong coping and healing strategies. She happily shares those with those who want to learn and grow in their own recovery journies.
Diane is an experienced advocate, speaker, and writer on narcissism, family dysfunction, and abuse. She draws from her personal childhood experiences, as well as her work in human service fields like domestic violence and partner abuse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Information Technology.
Her transformational books about healing and moving forward include the highly praised “Lemon Moms” series. This emotionally supportive collection explains narcissistic traits and teaches how to reconcile past hurts to begin self-nurturing, healing, and moving forward.
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This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional therapy.