When the world feels uncertain, chaotic, or scary, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless, am I right?
When I’m feeling uneasy or powerless, I ask myself this question:
Do I want to take a break? Or take action?
Why this works: It reins in your thoughts back to what you can control.
Taking a break could mean taking a break from the news, or taking a break in life.
This past weekend I was feeling sad about the people who were just sitting in their living rooms when their lives changed forever—when family members were taken without warning.
I hugged my kids a little extra; we ordered pizza and sat on the floor in the living room watching a movie. They rarely get to eat in the living room, so they thought they were getting such a treat!
After they went to bed, I watched a few YouTube videos of artists working with clay, purely because it has nothing to do with my life, and I get joy from watching people create. I wanted something mindless and joyful to distract me from the news.
Staying informed is important, but that doesn’t mean you need to have a constant stream of news. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. (And it goes without saying, yet here I am saying it: choose reliable news sources.)
Prioritizing what you consume is essential to supporting your mental health.
The other option is to “take action.” This could be taking action to support a cause, like writing to a senator or participating in a public display. Or it could be taking action to strengthen a relationship with a family member or friend—this helps build your network when you need to navigate tough times.
If you don’t know yet whether you want to take action or take a break, take a breath and get grounded. Calm your body, get present in the moment, and ask yourself what you need.
We don’t have control over external events, but you can control what you do next.
Take a breath, and ask yourself: “Do I want to take a break? Or take action?”