I originally wrote this post a little over a year ago (July 14th, to be exact) but with last weekend’s events I thought it would be a good time to dust it off and have a chat. I’ve added some extra commentary and advice – I hope it might help anyone who is struggling with the horror of recent events/the world lately.
We live in a scary world. It’s getting scarier by the minute. Every single day I log on social media and just see sadness – murder and hate and terror and ignorance and just horrible, horrible, horrible things. It’s enough to incite fear into even the strongest person. And that, I am not.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t comment on horrible events like the ones we’ve seen in the past few months because it requires me to put time and energy into it which, for me, is just so draining emotionally. The truth is, I stay as far away from them as possible. I read one or two headlines, find out whatever I need to know to not be ignorant on the topic, and step away. I have a habit of getting lost in horror stories, and then I find myself in a place of anxiety, sadness, and fear. Everywhere I go, I see the possibility for terror. Especially now that I have the boys, I simply can’t let that happen.
And to be honest, that is where most of my fears are based these days: what kind of world am I bringing these boys into? I can raise them to be kind and caring, respecting and just, compassionate and honest, but I can’t guarantee that the world I will be letting them go into will be the same. I can’t guarantee that something horrific won’t happen to my children and that is what scares me the most. (Side note: I think everyone should read this piece I saw on Scary Mommy, commenting on a group of people shielding a baby stroller during the gunfire in Dallas. It says everything I feel, but this line is what gave me chills “If we can’t look at adults and see their worth and absolute right to life, how about we turn our attention on children. We need to make the world better. We need to do better.”)
I’m not here to get deep and dark today, because if I do my stomach will be in knots all day just from writing it. Instead, today I thought I would share some of my own tips for what to do when the sad world gets to you. I truly hope that this will help anyone who feels the way I do when presented with all of this sad information turn their outlook around.
What to do When the Sad World Gets to You
1. Get. Off. Facebook.
I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve been on Facebook, started just by reading one person’s post and then went into a depressing spiral in no time flat. Next thing I know, I’m sick to my stomach, lightheaded from all of the information I really didn’t need to know. Half of the time I catch myself and literally say out loud “What am I doing?! Stop it, Morgan.” People feel safe on Facebook and post all sorts of opinions, ignorant and arrogant, rude and hurtful. In times of stress and uncertainty, arguments start and people are virtually high-fiving other for seriously horrible statements that will make you lose hope in the world. So get off it. At least until the dust of whatever tragedy is occurring settles. And if you do have to go on Facebook, please, please, please do not peek at the trending topics and scroll right on past people you know love stirring drama.
2. Turn off the news.
Get the basics that you need to feel informed and turn it off. Maybe check in once a day. All that you will see in the time in between is just horrible rehashings and speculation. You do not need that. So just get what you need and go. YES, the experiences of the people who will inevitably be interviewed are valid and important, but your sanity and mental health are more important in this moment.
3. Write a list of the good things.
There are so, so many good things in your life. If there were none, you wouldn’t feel so sick about the horrible things in this world. What are those great things? Write them down in your prettiest handwriting, and slap that list somewhere you will see it every day, multiple times a day. Take a picture of it and make it your phone background. Put it on your bathroom mirror or your steering wheel (obvi don’t read it while driving, people!!) – I don’t care where you put it, just remember that there is so much good in the world still. Top of my list? My beautiful boys, my amazing husband, my loving family, this space, and coffee. What puts a smile on your face?
4. Work it out.
A hard, mind numbing workout can sometimes totally wipe it all out for the time being. Pick your favorite workout, find the most intense version, and sweat out all of the sadness until you forget about it.
5. Look at history.
Be forewarned – this can be a callous way of looking at things, but sometimes a different perspective is necessary. The other day I went to my dad’s for his birthday and my 90-year-old grandmother was there. We were talking about the world and I turned to her and said, “Was it like this when you were my age? Were you terrified of the world?” The answer was yes. It was just a different thing to be afraid of. For my Grandmother, it was WWII and all of the terror that accompanied that. For my dad, he remembers huddling under desks in panic during air raid drills and the threat of nuclear war. There has always been and will always be a threat to happiness and joy and life and all that is good. But have comfort in knowing that the good lives on to the next generation.
6. Get outside.
The beauty of summer is the ability to turn your phone off and go outside. When I feel that terrible feeling of constant fear creeping up, I try to get off my phone and head outside to play. Fresh air and watching little boys run around happily because they know nothing about the craziness of the world we live in wins every time. Try to go out and enjoy nature and the world and find innocence.
7. Talk to someone.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you truly feel like the sadness of the world is getting to you daily to a point where it’s affecting your life, please look into talking to a professional. That is why there are here. They will help you come up with ways to manage your emotions as well as give you a sounding board for your thoughts. At the very least, make sure you are talking to someone – be it your husband, your parents, your best friend, someone in your church – just someone.
So tell me – do sad and scary events affect you? How do you manage those emotions? Let me know in the comments!
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