Blair Rhodes, LCSW
When the World Feels Heavy
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
There is so much happening in the world right now. I think a lot of us are feeling the weight of it all and there can be a sense of hopelessness when things feel heavy and we don't know how to change it. Trying to keep up with all the bad news is challenging and takes a toll on our well-being.
If you find yourself struggling with the existential question of what it means to exist in such a cruel world, you are not alone. When the world seems bleak, I encourage you to look inward. From the inside out, I believe we can make a path for ourselves that both honors the pain of the world while also holding space for hope and joy.
Small acts of self-care and kindness bring kind energy into the world.
Here are some things to consider.
First, please allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. When terrible things happen, it is normal to experience a range of emotions and the best way to deal with those feelings is to feel your way through them. This can be scary, but feelings are fleeting. They come and they go- sometimes like tidal waves, sometimes like ripples. If this feels like too much, therapy can be a helpful place to learn how to cope with big feelings. From there, decide what you want to do next.
It's okay to take a break from the news if you need to. Setting limits for yourself around your news intake can be necessary so you can take the time you need to feel and process your feelings.
Practice being kind to yourself. How you treat yourself, and especially how you talk to yourself, can shape how you show up in the world. I often work with my clients to help them learn to identify unhelpful or negative inner dialogue so they can begin to practice being more kind to themselves.When we are compassionate and kind to ourselves, I believe that allows us to have more capacity to better cope with stressors we cannot always control.
Do not deny yourself joy or comfort because "others have it worse." Because others may have it worse elsewhere in the world is just one reason to never take your safety, comfort, or joy for granted. If you find yourself feeling guilty over enjoying something or having fun, take a moment to savor it and express gratitude for it if you are able to.
If you are a parent, or have children in your life in any capacity- consider that they are our future. The way we nurture, speak to, and guide them creates the foundation of our future. There is power in how we raise our kids. I highly recommend The Mom Psychologist as a resource for learning how to gently and effectively communicate with young children.
Seek out and purposefully spend time with people who make you feel safe.Check in with yourself when you are with family and friends. How do you feel when you are around the people in your life? Consider setting boundaries around how much time you spend with people who make you feel worse.
Take time to do something kind for someone else, even just holding a door or complimenting a stranger, tell a friend or loved one how much they mean to you. Send a hand written card to someone important to you that you haven't spoken with in a while.
Educate yourself on the issues you feel passionate about and find a way to act- such as donating time, money, or goods if you are able. You might also take some time to get to know your community leaders and their position on the things you care about. You can reach out to them to ensure they know the views of the folks in the communities they serve. Vote in local elections. Find your representatives here: Texas Tribune
These are just a few examples of small acts of imparting your voice and kindness into the world; and I truly believe that matters.
When things feel hard, what are some other ways you can think of to care for yourself, your family, or your community?
These bits of advice are meant to provide a framework for general coping and self-care. If you are in immediate danger, please seek help right away by calling 911 or contacting your local crisis resources.