Managing anxiety about the war in Ukraine
Managing anxiety about the war in Ukraine
These are very challenging times for the world, with the war in Ukraine happening as we continue to live with a pandemic which has impacted so heavily on all our lives. Of course, for those who have friends or loved ones in Ukraine or that region, it is an acutely difficult time.
We know that conflict and uncertainty can cause anxiety and stress. There are those in our community who are looking for help to manage their anxiety levels, so we have compiled some advice and suggestions for support.
Ideas for ways to help yourself
Recognise that anxiety is normal – realise that feeling anxious or stressed is normal under these circumstances and it’s important to recognise that and realise that these are important feelings. If your anxiety is impacting your ability to do day to day activities seek help from your wellbeing team in Exeter or in Cornwall.
Stay connected – spending time with friends or loved ones can help. You can discuss the current situation with them, or use it as time to focus on other things.
Assign times for your news intake – with 24 hour news and a constant stream on social media, it can be tempting to take in everything that’s happening, but this can cause anxiety and distress. It’s healthier to put aside some set times during the day to catch up with the latest news and give yourself a break the rest of the time.
We recommend you use trusted sources (such as the BBC/Channel 4/Sky News/ITV) and limit social media contact on this topic. This doesn't mean that you are ignoring the topic or pretending it's not happening, but ensures that you are looking after yourself and giving yourself time to proactively help if you want to.
Take positive action - positive action can help us take some control over a situation in which we feel powerless. There are groups across Devon and Cornwall collecting items to send to the region to help, particularly the refugees who are fleeing Ukraine. Why not get involved and help out?Contact your Students' Guild officers or the Students' Union who are coordinating some actions. Or organise your own fundraiser for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee? We have listed some on our webpages.
If you can’t find something that you can do locally, there are still lots of other charities and organisations which support other worthy causes and continue to need support.
Get outside – try to get out and enjoy some fresh air and scenery. Being in nature can have a positive impact on how you feel. A walk around campus will help reconnect you and give you some breathing space.
Put your attention elsewhere - if possible try and continue other hobbies and activities that you enjoy that may give yourself and your mind time to rest away from thinking about the current situation.
Rest – try to get enough rest. If you wake in the night and are worried, avoid checking your phone, or other devices. Try to find something that can distract you, such as a good book, or some gentle music.
Eat well – try to ensure you look after yourself by eating healthily.
Be careful of alcohol intake – it can be tempting to up your intake of alcohol at this time, but remember this can make things worse in the longer-term.
If you already have a pre-existing condition, it’s natural that things may feel harder for you right now. Do reach out to your wellbeing service, or your doctor, if you feel you need additional support.
Find out more
You can read more about our wellbeing services on our web pages:
Other helpful links:
If you feel you won’t be able to complete an assignment on time, or need to defer an exam, you can apply for mitigation. We always advise talking to someone about this first, where possible. You can find out more on our web pages.
Be a good listener – friends, loved ones or colleagues may be keen to talk about how they feel. If you can give them time to listen without increasing your own anxiety, that will help. When supporting a friend it’s important that you are also mindful of your own wellbeing.
See Student Minds' advice on support for a friend.
How to help children – our natural instinct is to protect children and so it can be hard to know how to approach a conversation, or answer their questions about what’s happening in the world. Charity Unicef has produced an online guide, with suggestions on how best to approach it.