First there was the horrific attack at the Boston Marathon, followed closely by news of multiple poison-laced letters sent to Washington, DC. Yesterday, we saw the Senate ignore the pleas of 90 percent of the population and vote to protect the NRA, and last night, we all watched as a fertilizer plant in Texas erupted in a deadly fireball. Even if you were nowhere near the actual disasters, chances are you’ve felt a great deal of fear, sadness, and confusion in recent days. It’s been a rough week, to say the least. The rest of The Frisky staff and I wanted to put together a list of small ways to help us all get through this intense time. Please feel free to add your own tips in the comment section, and here’s to a calmer weekend…
1. Turn off the news. It’s tempting to constantly refresh the news to make sure you don’t miss any of the latest questionably accurate updates on any of the big stories this week. I’ve been sleeping with my iPad on the pillow next to me, and I can tell you that scrolling through pictures of death and destruction right before bed does not make for a restful night. Be sure to unplug yourself from the 24-hour news cycle for at least a couple hours–your soaring stress level will thank you.
2. Do something tangible to help. One of the worst feelings in the world, especially in the midst of a major disaster, is helplessness. We feel a deep ache for the victims and want to do something, anything to help, but aren’t sure how to proceed. The Red Cross has been instrumental in assisting victims and ensuring a quick recovery–consider making a financial donation or attending a blood drive. You can also find other specific causes to support/ways to give through Boston.com’s website and the Prayers For West Facebook page.
3. Talk about it. Acknowledge when you’re scared or disheartened and realize that everyone is in the same boat. Keeping things bottled up only makes them feel bigger and more intense. Sharing this experience with others can help strengthen our bonds and get us through it.
4. Write about it. Not in the mood to talk? Jot your feelings down in a journal instead. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but for many of us, the act of simply getting those racing thoughts out of your own head and down on paper can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders.
5. Surround yourself with loving people. Now might be a good time to invite a few of your best friends over and pop open a bottle of wine. Resist the urge to isolate yourself–reach out instead, and look for reminders of how many good people people there are in the world, and most importantly, in your own life.
6. Tap into your spirituality. Take a moment to connect spiritually–whatever that means for you–and use it to open your heart to the fact that these kinds of things happen to people all over the world all the time. Recognize the interconnectedness of ALL human suffering, whether happening here or abroad, and do what you can to alleviate that, in a way that feels right to you.
7. Share physical love. Cuddling, hugs, sex: all of these activities can be extremely comforting and connecting in times of stress.
8. Spread positivity. Don’t lose hope in humanity. Make the decision to be a bastion of light in a world that’s been momentarily darkened, and remember that every little bit helps: Give heartfelt compliments to strangers. Tell the people in your life how much you love and appreciate them. Let minor frustrations roll off your back. Pay for the person in front of you in line at the coffee shop. Forgive the guy that cuts you off in traffic. Be grateful for what you have, and help others do the same. We’re all in this together.
[Sunrise image via Shutterstock]