How are you doing with the current news cycle?
I know today would typically be a Fortune Cookie Friday, but given the recent news cycle, it seems important to broach a serious topic, today. It's not that other topics over the past year aren't serious, per se, but I feel like I should try to help with what's going on right now, therefore, Fortune Cookie Friday will resume next week.
When I started this site over a year ago, I did it in response to what I was seeing as constant bombardment from all sides of negative news, constant tragedies, frequent natural disasters, political and other infighting on social media, and a distinct lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding between people of differing backgrounds, political affiliations, and cultures.
Frankly, it made me sick. Literally.
I am an empath, which means that I feel things very deeply, connect with people on an emotional level, and will exhibit physical symptoms with frequent exposure to human suffering and constant discord. Depending on what I'm exposed to: I've thrown up; I've had fibromyalgia flare-ups; I'll cry til I can't see; I'll get headaches—you name it.
I HAD to find ways to cope with the constant negativity I was being exposed to on a daily basis, and that's why this site began. I disrupt negativity by focusing on positivity, light, joy, and gratitude. If I helped no one else but me, fine, but what I've heard from others is that it's working. This site helps them, too, and I am frequently told that the world needs more attitudes like mine, where people know without a doubt that they hold the power within themselves to disrupt those negative cycles and live happier lives.
So here we are a year later, and it seems that once again, I'm seeing more and more negativity in our news cycle and social media feeds. I've been feeling the stress building in myself, so I can imagine others are feeling it, too.
To that end, I'd like to share an article with you that I came across about a week ago that really helped me. Because, guys, I don't just sit here in some room typing out missives every week as if I haven't actually experienced negative things. No. I've lived through some serious, serious stuff, just like all of you have.
I have been on the journey of a victim to a survivor to a thriver, and while I still sometimes suffer the after-effects, I'm able to get myself back on track more quickly because I have practiced mindset work for years and can recognize patterns and take action to change them. It may not come easily on the really rough days, but I do recognize now that it IS possible to be happy despite it all.
And THAT is how I step into MY power again.
But sometimes we need a little help to get there.
Lifehacker recently posted its article, "How To Cope with the Current News Cycle as a Sexual Abuse Survivor," written by Deb Schwartz, and while it is specifically geared to survivors of sexual assault and abuse who may have been upset by the recent confirmation hearings and testimony, I think there are many helpful coping strategies in this article no matter what it is that is upsetting us.
Below, I paraphrase some high-level points from Ms. Schwartz's article and list my thoughts about them. I encourage you to click on that link above and read the whole thing, as it has excellent advice:
It's okay to need help and ask for it. I have reached out to friends, and friends have reached out to me. Also, I did talk therapy a couple of times in my life with zero regrets. A friend or a professional are both legit ways to get that help, and there is no shame in seeking it.
Set boundaries with media, both traditional and social, to minimize upsetting exposure. I don't start my day with either of them if I can avoid it. I start my day with an uplifting, inspiring message from any number of sources. I will start including those sources on this site so you can subscribe to them if you wish. I set a time limit on news, browse headlines online, avoid comment threads if at all possible, and if I've hit my limit, I stop for the day. The news will still be there tomorrow. I try to strike a balance, aiming for "staying informed" instead of "Oh God, why did I look at the news today?" I seek sources that are not tooled with headlines meant to get an emotional reaction, too, if I can at all find them. Reuters, Christian Science Monitor and the BBC all work better for me than other news media outlets, but it's up to you to decide where to seek your news.
Set boundaries with friends/family/acquaintances/co-workers. If I have to politely change the subject, I do. If my feelings and pain show to them, then it does, but I try to head it off at the pass before it even gets that far by checking in with myself about how I'm feeling along the way. Once I know it's time to change the subject, a simple, "You know, I really enjoy spending time with you/having conversations with you, do you mind if we move to another topic?" is how I do that. The article lists some other segues, too.
Know your triggers and what they look like internally. For me, if my fight or flight response kicks in, I know I'm triggered, in which case I may politely excuse myself and go deal with it for a bit, especially if I'm with people I don't know that well or am in a business setting. I'm at the point now where I don't need to let that show to others, but in my earlier years, I did, because I couldn't help it. But with practice and support networks (again: talk therapy, friends, family) I've been able to recognize it before it gets overwhelming for me, for the most part. Sometimes it still sneaks up on me, and that's okay, too. I try to meet myself where I'm at, and treat myself kindly when those feelings happen.
You are not required to #metoo if you don't want to. You do not have to share, and you are never required to defend your actions, decisions or emotions to anyone. You are not required to relive your victimization, either. Full stop. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and don't feel bad about not sharing if that's what you need to do. To that end, don't feel bad about sharing, either. Just know that you are in control of what you share and when.
Breathe. Seriously a life-changer, for me. Meditation and breathing exercises have really helped me during my most panicky, non-functional times. So has Reiki. I rarely have a panic attack any more, and when I do, it's easier for me to get out of it again. But I had to practice at it. Practice will help you learn this, but be kind and patient with yourself if it doesn't come easily, okay? It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Most of all, remember that we will get through this. If we do nothing else but breathe, we're going to be okay.
|Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash|
I very much hope this has helped you in some way. I am sending tons of love and care out to the universe right now. If you want to, and only if you want to, let me know if this article or highlighted points helped you at all. Feel free to share this post with anyone you may know who is suffering. And remember that this, too, shall pass. 💛🐝