The nature of modern life is that there’s a lot going on, with work demands higher than ever and many of us striving to ‘have it all’ it’s not surprising that so many report a feeling of being overwhelmed and often anxious, while 1 in 5 of us suffer from an anxiety disorder. 

Add into the mix, a life-altering pandemic that we’ve had to endure for the past few years and now the prospect of massive global conflict with the alarming and upsetting situation in Ukraine unfolding in front of our eyes and you’d be forgiven for feeling totally out of control and in a constant state of anxiety.

The first step of tackling overwhelm in any situation is to recognise some of the reasons for it and to take steps to regain control of your mental state.

Here we’ve put together a list of ways you can reduce anxiety and worry during these incredibly difficult times and some verified sources where you can show your support to the people of Ukraine. If these awful events have taught us anything, it’s that when we all come together, our unity and love for one another has the ability to drown out the bad.

Social media

Most of us will have experienced the darker side of social media; whether it’s sapping your time and your self-esteem or feeding you a constant stream of scare-mongering news headlines, it’s all too easy to emerge from Instagram or TikTok feeling pretty crappy and having lost 2 hours of your precious time. This can not only eat into our work time but leave us with the overwhelming sense that we’re either not good enough or that no matter how hard we hope, we’re all doomed.

If social media sucks your time, batters your ego and leaves you feeling more anxious, consider using an app like Antisocial to block sites like Facebook and Twitter for a period of time. Or, simply turning your phone off when you have to focus, can mean the hassle of turning it on again is enough to deter you from quickly ‘checking in’ on social media.

Not taking enough time for yourself

We hear so much about self-care these days, but often life and ‘busyness’ get in the way and before we know it, another week has passed, we’re frazzled and haven’t given ourselves a moment to think, let alone recharge. We have good intentions but rarely follow through because other things get in the way.

Marie Forleo, business and life coach, has a saying; ‘If it’s not scheduled in, it’s not happening’.

If this past week is sending your anxiety levels soaring, make an appointment with yourself and treat it with the same reverence as you would a meeting with your boss. Book an exercise class in advance, plan a lunchtime walk, schedule an at-home pamper sesh and create some white space in your weekly routine to breathe, do nothing, or sit on the sofa with the dog. Rest is as important as activity and you need it to be able to function and feel at your best.

Future trippin’

Projecting our minds into the future can make it seem as if loads of things are happening all at once. The reality, however, is that there is only ever one thing you have to do, and that’s whatever you’re doing right now.

It’s impossible to predict what the future could bring, especially at the moment, and when we project into the future and imagine all the things that could go wrong, it’s easy to feel anxious or stressed. Try to remember that there is only ever here, and now, and that at this moment, you can handle whatever comes up. Using apps like Headspace or practising mindfulness meditation can be a great way to train our minds to stay in the present moment.

Despite our hectic world, peace of mind is always a possibility. Make time for yourself, unplug as often as you can and remember you are here to ‘be’, not just to ‘do’.

Take action (even if small) to make a difference

Sometimes when we’re wrapped up in a spiral of anxiety, we can often turn inwards and project our fear around what a worrying situation might mean for us. Of course, it’s instinctual to prioritise protecting ourselves. But, there is almost always someone worse off than us and we can use this thought to shift our focus and take action to help those in need. Anxiety can be totally paralysing and it’s easy to sit watching the news on loop feeling helpless but breaking that cycle and finding ways to help others in a meaningful way, big or small, can not only take your mind off your own worries but also help you feel more in control.

Below we’re sharing some verified links for ways you can help humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. No matter how you want to get involved, whether that’s financial support or donating items that may help those who have been forced to leave their homes behind, if we all do a little something, we can make a big difference.

Withukraine.org – A donation site set up by the official Embassy of Ukraine here in London for anyone wanting to provide financial support.

Ukrainianlondon.co.uk – If you want to donate items like hygiene products, baby items like nappies and formula or even clothes and shoes, ukrainianlondon.co.uk are sharing collection points where you can drop off any items to help the humanitarian efforts on the ground in Ukraine.

Red Cross – Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers are reaching as many people as possible, distributing 30,000 food and hygiene parcels so far, and helping evacuate people with disabilities. They are taking donations via their website.