I'm really glad that there are people here, when it gets too much

A few weeks back, I found myself thinking about the start of COVID, two years ago, of hearing from friends and colleagues about the impact on their families. There were those images from Wuhan too. But somehow with masks, handwashing and lockdowns, it felt like you could do something that might help.

I now find myself feeling more helpless than back then, watching the news from Ukraine. I am hoping that the world is really coming together to help them, and that those words ‘Never Again’ truly mean something. But it is hard to just watch.

I’ve started this topic so it can be a place where we can come together, and talk about how we are feeling, when it feels too much. Sometimes it just helps to know there are people around who feel similar.

Thinking about everyone who may be struggling with this, and especially about those in Ukraine.

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Thank you so much for starting this topic. I really resonate with the feelings of helplessness. Also find myself watching the news none stop and Twitter scrolling.Not sure it is the most helpful thing to do but in a weird way it helps me to feel connected. It all feels just so surreal…

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I know what you mean @Helen about watching the news. Some people call it ‘doom scrolling’, when they are online, and it is something to keep in check.

But I also worry that if I don’t keep up with what is going on, I am letting the people of Ukraine down, and am not bearing witness to what is happening there.

It’s a funny mixture of feeling painfully aware yet distant and helpless…perhaps that is why it feels surreal? May be good to think through what we can do practically, to show or give support?

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Thanks for starting this topic @RDG - so important.

I’ve found the Ukraine war a really difficult thing to deal with on a daily basis in similar ways. Part of me wants to keep the news on 24/7, but I’m realising that by doing so it’s adding to my worry and concern for the people and the worsening situation. I’ve had to force myself to take breaks from it (although that little voice is with me saying “they don’t get to take a break”…)

I’ve been thinking this week what I can do to help and I realised that through my professional work I’ve been supporting community managers, social media managers and those who run online spaces (either professionally or personally) with their exposure to tough conversations and the effect on their mental health.

Today I posted this on my LinkedIn profile.

I feel better knowing that I could take a small action and if I help just one person it was worth doing something to help the situation

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Thank you for starting this conversation RDG . I share the same sentiments with you. It has been really hard trying to get a balance between being informed and aware of those who are suffering terribly but, also trying to manage my own distress and helplessness. I have resorted to reducing amount of time spent on keeping up with updates but I can’t help feeling guilty as it is very easy to do that in my position. I am thinking of our colleagues who are also experiencing this distress.

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This is such an important topic to raise. I really resonate with what others said about feeling helpless and upset by what I am reading and seeing on the news. Similarly to what others have said, initially I found myself reading up on the background to the crisis so that I fully understood what is happening to Ukrainians and why - somehow I felt this was an important first step to take so that I was fully informed and understood what I was showing support for.

To help on a more practical level, there are donation points being set up across the country for supplies to be delivered to Ukraine. In London, there is an up-to-date list here of places if people would like to donate clothes and supplies. Social media is also a helpful place to check what specific supplies places still need and what they have enough of already.

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Thanks @Ella Really great link to the places where you can donate something.

Also really like your approach to understand the background to the war. With so many opinions flying around social media, it’s sensible to get the history right first, in your own mind.

I thought there was some great background info. on the Keeping Well site, towards the bottom of the page:

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Here’s another list of ways you can donate if you would like to:

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I don’t know how anyone else is feeling, but each week now feels a very long time, and just trying to keep hope alive, not easy.

I’m still struggling with the feeling that if I do what sounds sensible psychologically - focus on the things I can control; ration watching news - it feels wrong, like a betrayal of Ukrainians. How are other people managing that balance?

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I share your sentiment here @RDG.

I’ve started to think more in terms of ‘periods of each day’ rather than just trying to overthink weeks (which sometimes feels overwhelming in itself).

So I’m trying to view a morning or afternoon as a sort of flow - some days I recognise that I’m feeling up against it (either work, the news or something else) and try to take a small action that rebalances that flow.

It might be something as simple as turning the news off.
It might be that I find a task in my inbox I know will take me only a few mins and check it off as complete.
More recently, the appearance of the sun every so often I’ve used as a reason to down tools, make a nice coffee and grab 10 mins.

None of these actions require either a huge investment of time or cost, but for me it’s about the mindfulness of doing them/taking the action.

If I have a little more time, it’s absolutely time to leave my environment and take a walk. Even 15 mins around the block helps.

In the last couple of years everything challenging seems to have happened on a vast scale - it’s so important we try and take moments back in our days when we get to control the narrative.