So many of us are experiencing ongoing feelings of helplessness, heartbreak and unease as the war in Ukraine continues, and we’re all trying our best to stay informed. While watching the news and reading updates can be helpful, it can also be stressful — which is why it’s important that we set boundaries with technology and find small ways to take care of ourselves every day. 

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small ways they take care of themselves when there’s so much going on in the world. Which of these tips will you try? 

Carve out quiet time for yourself

“I take extra time to spend in silence to get present with my feelings. Whether grief, anger or hopelessness is present, by spending time acknowledging my feelings, I feel more grounded. Then, I tune into compassion by doing the loving kindness compassion meditation and send the same peaceful vibes to myself and others suffering around the world. While I would love to do something directly, by tuning into my own heart and sending compassionate wishes that others be free of suffering, I know I’m doing something.”

—Andrea Pennington, MD, integrative psychedelic physician, Cannes, France

Spread love to those around you

“The world can feel chaotic and unpredictable, and with so much going on that feels bad, it’s easy to get lost in negativity. The most rewarding way to take care of myself during times of uncertainty is to be a source of love for everyone you come in contact with. When sharing love, you receive love, and it’s is the best antidote for weary, worry, and anger. Share the love.”

—James Petrossi, president of PTNL, Austin, TX

Designate news cut-off hours

“With the barrage of global crises and local crises, it can be very easy to get sucked into this vortex of bad news and harrowing images that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. I feel very strongly about having a digital detox during certain hours of the day.  I stay away from TV news, online news and social media for a few hours each day as this allows me to tune into my work with better focus and tune into my family with better presence and attention. This doesn’t mean that I am oblivious to the enormity of these events, however it does allow me the space and time to live my life feeling less disorientated.”

—Candice Tomlinson, coach and hypnotherapist, Sydney, Australia

Make time for journaling  

“When you verbalize your feelings by writing your thoughts down, you can put these emotions into words. According to scientists, there is a decreased response in the amygdalae when you write down your feelings. Scans using fMRI – functional magnetic resonance imaging – to study subjects’ brain activity showed that the amygdalae were less active. This means that you are less prone to triggering the threat response, and it occurs simply by making the time to write it all down and helping your brain calm down.”

—Frederique Murphy, keynote speaker, strategist and author, Dublin, Ireland

Offer a hand to your neighbors 

“Remember 9/11, where the mirage of our infallible childhood crumbled? I do, and that’s when we were told to look for the helpers. As an adult, I can be a helper now. While thousands of miles away from the conflict, I accomplish this by only sharing fact-checked news reports, donating my book sales to legitimate sources, helping those at home relieve the burden of the pinch on our grocery prices by sharing with neighbors, and keeping my own mental well-being in check. If I’m getting stressed, I shut off the news and read a book, take a bath, and snuggle with the kids.”

—Kathy Haan, bestselling author, Denver, IA

Try “tapping” to relieve stress

“The past week has been so hard. As a refugee from a Russian-backed country I am so sad to see the Ukrainian people fight for their freedom.  I have been using an app twice a day that leads me through a tapping practice. This self-acupuncture technique has helped me to release the enormous stress and anxiety I’ve been feeling. “

—Eva Wisnik, author and recruiter, New York, NY

Reach out to others

“I try connecting with trusted women and men in a network via phone, text and zoom. It is so imperative to know that with everything going on, we are all in this together and can face anything together that we could not do alone.”

—Kristi O’Connor, physician/patient advocate, NJ

Go on a “gratitude walk”

“With so much pain and injustice in the world, it is challenging to see how we can influence our world for the better while taking care of our well-being, but the two are directly linked. Imagine yourself as a glass, and think of a funnel above you, pouring all of what is available in the universe into that glass. That funnel contains all the power, peace, resources, and clarity. However, that direct pour is only available in each present moment. When we are scattered in our thoughts thinking of past, present, future, and all aspects of  life, it’s like that funnel pouring out onto a flat surface. One way that’s been effective in helping me stay present is by moving my body with a gratitude walk. What we focus on expands, so when we move our body and offer gratitude for every beautiful thing we see and notice, we speak more of those things into existence. This practice is possibly the most powerful way to stay present and powerful!”

—Rachel Pointer, women’s coach, Overland Park, KS

Give yourself a smile

“I find that prior to my nightly routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth, I take a moment to look at myself in the mirror and give myself a big smile. It’s funny how just seeing that reflection can bring some joy even for a short time, right before you try to get an important night’s sleep.”

—Cathy Connally, co-author Flavour with Benefits: France

Remind yourself you’re doing what you can

“My heart has burst open for the people of Ukraine. All I can do is donate, join with our local group meditating and praying for peace, and keep abreast of what’s going on. There’s an impulse to energetically stand with those suffering and bear witness instead of closing down. However, I’m keenly aware of an energy drop if I watch too many news clips. I am not doing myself or my family any favors if I succumb to suffering along with the Ukrainian people. My solution is to watch or read news highlights, limit myself to one messenger feed, and soak up incidental stories about love and beauty amongst the suffering. I also bring myself back to this present moment, here in Australia, with an even deeper gratitude for the peace and love that does exist here and now, in my world.”

—Barbara Cook, facilitator and author, Geelong, Australia

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.