As you may or may not have noticed, every week of 2021 has been marked by one historic event after another. All throughout January, how to buy prevacid au without prescription we faced a violent insurrection at the Capitol, an impeachment, and an inauguration. Oh yeah, and we’re about to hit the one-year mark of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 400,000 lives. Sure, there’s a vaccine, but its rollout has been…rough. No matter where you stand on party lines, you might find yourself overcome with anxiety, dread, paranoia, and other side effects that come from juggling multiple traumas.
Needless to say, it’s completely understandable if you’re not in your best headspace right now. Cosmopolitan spoke to Naiylah Warren, a staff therapist at the mental health care company Real, about how to cope with the consistent onslaught of trauma and find space for joy even when it feels like the world is burning around us—and won’t ever stop.
Empathy burnout is something that I’ve seen so much over the past year. It’s this feeling that we just can’t generate the energy to care about everything all the time. Not necessarily because it’s not there, but because when there’s so much going wrong around you, it’s really, really hard to stay in that state. A lot of people have been dissociating because all the things going on in the world bring so much pain and sadness. I really want to encourage people to really look at the things that are really working to bring them calm, whether that’s as simple as a bubble bath or as meaningful as a long FaceTime with a parent.
One of the things that I have really pushed my clients to do is ask themselves, What does the day need from me right now? What do I need from today? Focusing on the things we can control is really what’s most helpful. Like, what kinds of foods can you eat to make you feel good? And FYI, kale and cookie dough are both acceptable answers.
It’s very easy to emotionally react to everything. And truthfully, living in a constant state of emotional burnout is not sustainable. This is this time to develop mindful practice. And when I say “mindful,” I don’t mean meditating every morning. I mean really practicing the art of being present.
For example, say you wake up in the morning and you have a dog. What are your responsibilities to that dog? You have to make sure that you get up to walk the dog. You have to feed it. Connecting to your responsibilities is what I mean when I say, “Be more present.”
It’s helpful for us to connect back to some of the mundane practices that humanize us and make us feel more in control, especially when there’s so much out of our control.
We also have to know that feelings of hopelessness are not here for the long haul. Life is not always all good or all bad. A lot of people feel like in order to be good people, they have to be deeply connected to everything that’s happening right now. But know this: You can be a good person and be upset about the things that are happening and also be able to create space for joy. I think people put a lot of pressure on themselves to carry the weight of the world when in reality, there’s a place for all of it, good and bad.
Like, you can be happy about the fact that you really accomplished something at work—and also be sad that your friend is having a really hard time. You can have a wonderful date night with your partner—and also feel enraged about politics. I just want to validate for people that that’s very typical of the human experience.
You can be a good person and be upset about the things that are happening and also be able to create space for joy.
It is especially important for clients who are activists to take a step back and reconnect with activities that spark different emotions and provide different experiences other than pain and grief. Because it’s that variance that helps us move through times like this. We need to not be fully immersed just in the sadness or the frustration. It’s not sustainable for us to stay in that one place, so I encourage people to do activities that really move them into a positive headspace because that’s really how we overcome times like these, especially when it seems like there’s no end in sight. Maybe that’s exercise or finding a creative outlet like painting. Whatever it is, participating in that activity will help re-spark optimism in your life.
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