We all process challenges and pain differently. As of late, we’ve all experienced a lot of trauma watching events play out on the news & on social media, and this isn’t even including all that we experience in our personal lives. Some of us, have the skills we need to safely make it through these situations. But some of us have a hard time feeling anything – and in a climate where there is so much to feel, it’s extremely overwhelming. And it can feel like we can’t escape it.
I’ve heard people say they’re so afraid they’ll miss something important if they don’t watch the news or stay plugged to their phone. But living in this state has taken away our ability to actually discern and give ourselves the space to really feel. And I believe one of the ways we can get through this is by allowing ourselves to grieve.
Without grief, it’s as if the challenges we’re facing aren’t real – in our bodies. We know they’re there and that it’s actually happening, but we don’t relate to them as something that’s happening to us. We’ve chosen to skip or bypass what’s actually happening instead because it feels easier. Or because that’s all we know how to do.
I remember, before going through therapy, I would completely skip grief. I honestly had no idea what grief was – or why it would be beneficial. I thought, “why would I create space for something so painful?”
And it’s still hard for me. I still find myself struggling with making the time for those feelings, allowing myself to feel my true feelings, and processing them with space and compassion. Compassion allows us to feel without judgement.
With the constant consumption of the news/media & social media, it’s literally a breeding ground of trauma just by looking through your FaceBook feed. It can feel difficult to continue to live your life and there have been times that what I’ve seen on social media has completely altered my mood to the point where I’ve had to take a step back to regroup.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel pain or feelings about what others are going through or about what we’re actually experiencing. But I feel strongly that there is a difference between being consumed by negativity and acknowledging it and letting it go – so that you can take action, make decisions, and live your life.
So what do we do? How do we make sure we aren’t completely consumed by all of this?
Here are some things I’ve been doing to take care of myself:
1.Cry if you need to.
I definitely often avoid this one. I can usually spot myself moving past this when I know I’m clearly hurt, but instead of crying, I feel immense rage/anger. You can begin to pick up on your indicators or triggers which can alert you to when you are bypassing feelings that are trying to move through. Also, I find that once I cry, I feel brand new. The challenges may still be there. I still may have no idea what I’m going to do. But I gave my system, my body, the opportunity to really process my emotion which I not only believe is extremely healthy, but it makes space for me to make decisions and move on.
2.Call a friend you can trust.
Talk. It. Out. If you’re feeling like you need to get some things off your chest, call someone you can trust – someone you know has the capacity to hold space for you in a safe way.
3.Take a break from Social Media/News.
I know a lot of people are afraid of what they may miss if they don’t watch the news – but today you can miss the news and get a blow by blow on social media. And if you frequently consume both you may find yourself completely overwhelmed. Because this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation, taking frequent breaks from social media and the news can prove to be super helpful in controlling your consumption of information – especially when you don’t want to!
4.Don’t feel obligated to post or share anything….ever.
I read a post from @valencia_valencia (on IG) that really resonated with me. During times where domestic terrorism, racism, and so many different views are so volatile & public – you can find yourself feeling forced to choose a side publicly via social media. I have often been very vocal about things on Facebook or IG, but as of late, I’ve felt it’s been way more important for me to take actions (see #6 below) instead of sharing all of my thoughts via social media. Find what works for you. Figure out what makes you feel comfortable. Don’t judge friends who’ve decided to stay silent. We all process adversity, challenges, and trauma in different ways.
5.Decide on changes you can make in your life that will increase your happiness, joy, livelihood, etc.
Look at the things in your life that aren’t the way you want them to be or feel. Figure out how you can bring more love, more enjoyment, more of what lights you up into your life. We have so much more control than we give ourselves credit for. What can you do today to improve how you live now?
6.Take actual positive action.
How can you get involved in your community? How can you join a cause, donate, work one on one with someone who needs you? There are so many ways to get involved today, some right through the internet. When I choose this, I find that I’m able to put my energy into something that supports my purpose and my work. I make the decision to divert my energy toward something that can be helpful, something I actually support. Find things that you can do, in your community or in causes that you’re passionate about, and get involved. Most importantly, I help others and my hope is that this creates a domino effect.
7.Spend time listening to/reading uplifting things.
When people say they’re “focused on the light” it can get a bad rep. It sounds like the person is attempting to bypass all that is actually going on. However, the negativity will always be out there. The difficult challenges you’re facing are there. You won’t get through them wallowing in more negativity and low energy spaces. There is a major difference between processing your feelings and becoming completely consumed by not only your feelings and challenges – but those of the World (collective). Allow yourself the space and time to also be motivated & inspired, so that you can gracefully transition out of grief.
8.Feel completely free to keep living your life
Go to restaurants. See the movie you want to see. Laugh. A lot. Start your business. Fall in love. Give yourself permission to continue to live your life.
Allowing yourself to feel good even when things are challenging or even in adversity doesn’t mean you aren’t feeling others pain. It doesn’t mean that you’re living in a bubble or enjoying a life of ignorant bliss.
You’re taking care of yourself.
And with all that’s currently going on, its become even more imperative that we take time to do that.