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Ukraine conflict: How to help yourself, your kids, and others

If you woke up this morning, looked at the news, and felt increasingly worried about the war in Ukraine, you are not alone. After a two-year pandemic, it's a lot to absorb, and experts agree that feeling overwhelmed is normal. Here is their advice on how you can take care of yourself, your kids - and others. By Lauren Potts - BBC News

By Nick Murray · March 29, 2022

What you can do to help yourself

While it’s right to think first and foremost about the impact on those caught up in the conflict, it’s also completely normal to feel upset from afar by what we’re seeing in Ukraine, says Alex Bushill, from the mental health charity Mind.

“It’s very natural to be distressed by what we’re seeing, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t,” he says.

This doesn’t always lead to anxiety, but the NHS and Anxiety UK agree on some key ways to avoid it: eat well, get outside, put your phone down, connect with people, rest. These are all pretty basic pieces of advice, but when you’re stressed, they can be difficult to do consistently.

Alex says breaking it down into a two-step process can help. The first is to remove yourself from triggers so that you can practice mindfulness.

“Get yourself into a place where you can be in the moment – whether that’s sport or walking the dog,” he says.

The second step is to focus on self-discipline around specific techniques that work for you. “Create the space to take a lunch break or play squash on a Tuesday with your mate – and to make sure you do that.”

Sarah Kendrick, clinical director with text support service Shout, says she is particularly concerned about young people, who are typically on their phones a lot and accessing news 24/7.

“Children and young people are texting in saying they’re worried about war, some say it’s keeping them awake at night,” she says. “They’re up at night with access to their phones and with news alerts going off.”

The guidance that Shout has been giving out sounds simple – turn off your phone at night and don’t feel like you have to keep looking at the news – but it can be hard to put into practice.

“We always say, try to remember what we can control, and you can certainly control the amount of media you consume and how much sleep you have and how much you reach out for support.”

Read the full article here by the BBC’s Lauren Potts