In recently times it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay energised and positive. The daily grind takes its toll and then there is also the seemingly unending daily little or big disasters that affects us all emotionally in some way.
I remember one historical disasterous event very clearly – 9/11. It was 2001 and when I got home from school and switched on the television to watch the normal afternoon cartoons it was replaced by a minute by minute rehash of the events the just happened; the destruction, the shock, pain and the trauma – displayed and repeated to be burned into one’s emotional make up forever. It’s something I will never forget.
Recently two events took place that affected my immediate surroundings – one, the violence and riots in South Africa, and just as it calmed down the area in Germany where I stay was flooded… people, belongings and existences flushed away and leaving a total disaster behind. Extreme emotional turmoil, grief, anger at the world and complete shock were left behind.
In this week I found it exceptionally difficult not be affected by what was happening around me. The situation in South Africa was barely mentioned in the German news but with social media you are transported to any place you wish to be as people shared the terrible things that was happening. Of course the flooding situation was much closer to home and besides being incredibly lucky not to have been affected personally the lot of those around me was hard to watch.
I could not stop myself from being drawn into the disaster narrative and feeling incredibly sad and empathising with those affected to such a degree that I felt like an emotional wreck by Friday.
With the help of a friend and some calming breathing exercises I realised a couple of things, well one most important thing mainly. The importance of valuing and protecting one’s energy.
Here are the couple of tips that helped me step back into the role of observer and not becoming too much involved emotionally:
- STOP mass consuming media. I am not just meaning the news or television here but also social media where people are sharing their experiences, trauma and stories en masse. I am not saying go live under a rock and don’t know what is happening, just stop consuming it every minute of the day. This might also mean not watching or sharing videos or pictures of opinions or reports that are shared with you. Even if it means leaving all the groups on social media you joined.
- Focus on what is in front of you… Focusing on disaster and how badly whatever has hit others takes away your own precious energy you need to do things that are important to you in this moment. Whether it’s your work, or cooking that healthy meal or even going for a walk instead of sitting and watching repeats of the same thing told differently.
- Breathe. When things get emotional and you feel too involved again, close your eyes and breathe while focusing on how your breath feels going into your body and then going out.
- Practice gratefulness. Especially when you are not personally affected or disaster basically drive by your front door, I fully realise my guardian angels have a full time job. Be thankful for what you have in the face of so many having left with so little.
- Laugh. Read jokes, comics or watch a good comedy. Something you know will lift your spirits and get you chuckling… I resorted to watching cartoons, my current favourite; The penguins of Madagascar.
- Ignore the nonsense. Lastly, it is human nature to try and find a reason behind things, to understand. Unfortunately this also leads to a lot of different theories being supposed. Assumptions being made leading to… dare I say it?… “conspiracy theories”! There. I said it. A lot of these theories can also lead to more fear and more trauma, or triggering past trauma, which is another thing on its own. The reality is, we may never know the real reason about or for anything and that is really okay too. Sometimes it is good not to know, for our own sanity.
So that is (in a nutshell) what I have been doing the last week to get my energy back. Yes, what has happened is terrible and there are so many more terrible things happening in this world of ours.
In response, we have the privilege to help where we can and if we have the means, but we also have a duty to keep our own energy high to be able to be there for our fellow humans who are on this journey with us.
On this note, I wish you all a successful and blessed week. Thank you for being a part of my journey this week. ❤