It’s OK to feel OK.
It’s OK to have a reason to smile.
It’s OK to stay calm and carry on with your life. Also, when somebody that you know might be suffering.
My whole family is living in Belarus, very close to the Ukrainian and Russian borders. Since the war in Ukraine has started, I have been glued to my phone, waiting to see any updates, and hoping to get some good news. Even though at the present moment my family is safe and doing ok, I realized that I am so absorbed in what is going on there, that I am mixing my reality with theirs and neglecting my life and family here and now. I also caught myself several times on the thought of feeling guilty for living my regular life, for being happy, ashamed of having good news or having a reason to smile…
The truth is, that by feeling ashamed or guilty I cannot help my close ones.
And, actually, quite on the contrary, if we want to be able to help anyone in trouble, we should first take care of our own wellbeing. Just like in an airplane: first put a mask over your face, then help your kid.
In the current situation of uncertainty and tense atmosphere, it’s even more important to stay calm and carry on with your life. We need it more than ever in order to remain functional and be able to help others.
To help myself find the balance and get back to reality, I attended a psychological webinar. The organizer was advising to start from clearing my head and make space for regular routine things. Easier said, than done, I thought. But the proposed technique was not so difficult and somewhat helped me to stay on track and find some space for important people and things. I would like to share it here as well, maybe someone else is having similar issues like I did.
- Take a bunch of sticky notes and list all the things that are bothering you. It can be anything, from the politics and climate to the fact that you have no food in the fridge and have not cleaned your house in days. Anything at all.
- Once you have stickers ready, take a piece of paper and divide it in two: one part would be for the things you have no impact on, the other would be for the things you can influence or change. Put every sticky note to the respective side of the page.
- Look at the side with all the items that you can do nothing about. As much as possible, try to accept those as facts and try to put them aside in your head. Try to stop worrying and stressing about them. Possibly, even try to find something positive about them. After doing that, this part of the page can be forgotten.
- Analyse the items that you can change and translate them into concrete actions for yourself.
- Now take another piece of paper and divide it in three columns: To Do, In Progress and Done. Analyse the items that you can change and translate them into concrete actions for yourself. Put all the stickers with concrete actions in the “To Do” column and start processing them one by one, locating them to the respective status columns.
Once you will have taken actions on the items you can change, you will notice that there are not so many things anymore bothering you. You have more energy and feel empowered to improve your own state of mind. You will also realise, that you can make time and space for the other things in life. Instead of being paralyzed by the stressful situation, you will be having psychological resources to help others. At lease, this is what helped me to some extent. Hopefully, it can help others, too.
So, It’s OK to feel OK.
It’s OK to enjoy your life.
It’s OK to stay calm and carry on with your life, so that you can help others 💜