Friday, March 18, 2011

3 simple things to remember when the world seems to be falling apart

Friends and family are looking around and counting themselves fortunate that they haven’t been personally affected by the desperate and dramatic events absorbing our attention hour by hour in Japan.

Capture from TV. Qld Jan 2011
They feel lucky to have avoided (more by sheer luck than good management) being involved in some of the recent distressing scenes of natural devastation.

The dreadful floods in Queensland followed by those in Victoria, fire, more floods around the country, cyclones, all happening one on top of the other. Then the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand so closely followed by the one in Japan.

Many onlookers feel almost as if they are under siege, there’s a sense of fragility and insecurity in what had seemed a relatively stable world. There’s a feeling of being tired and drained, of feeling insignificant. As well there’s often a sense of frustration at being unable to help, there’s a need to “do something”.

Screen capture from TV. Qld Jan 2011
For those who have spare cash, it’s sometimes easy to give money, to say: “I’ve helped”. For many though, this either isn’t possible, or it’s not enough to soothe the uncomfortable feeling of life being much less secure than before.

At times like this, it’s important to safeguard our emotional and physical health, to check in regularly to see how we’re coping. Unfortunately it’s too easy to find reasons not to do what will benefit us.
We know that eating well is important, as is getting adequate sleep and exercise.

Izzy the Guide Dog puppy
waiting patiently for a walk
It’s extremely easy to get sidetracked from looking after ourselves when under stress. We hit the comfort foods, guzzle too much alcohol, and because of that, our sleep is more broken and we feel less inclined to exercise. We don't think as clearly because of all this and some decisions are not as good as they could be. The result: a vicious cycle that adds physical discomfort to the already wobbly emotional state.

There’s one other thing, often overlooked, that can be immensely supportive in times when we feel fragile, and that is sharing the feeling of vulnerability. It can be immensely reassuring to feel that you are not alone, reaching out, expressing (no matter how imperfectly), feeling part of the whole. Just to say, “Yes I feel crappy too”. It’s comforting to know that others are struggling as well. On line or real life friends, it doesn’t matter where you meet, but it is important to share even when you are unable to "do".

So, if nothing else, remember these three things:

1.  Look after your mind
2.  Take care of your mates (and let them take care of you too)
3.  Keep moving

The three M’s 
Mind, Mates & Movement.


The trio of support for a healthy life.



Helen Ginger said...

Excellent post - and you've made it easy to remember! I'm sort of a minor news junkie. I want to catch the 7 o'clock news each morning (doesn't always work). And sometimes I think I perhaps should just not turn on the TV. Guess it's good we can't get cable or I'd be checking in off and on during the day!

sue said...

Helen, I know what you mean, it can get unhealthily addictive.

GVK said...

Well articulated post. Of the three 3 Ms, the last one - 'Moving' - was highlighted by another friend who wrote - running water doesn't flow back. Life is like the water in the river.Personally,(am 72),the message translates into optimizing life, whatever is left of it, on a daily basis. Can't afford to waste even a day. I try to do a daily audit of my daily dos.

sue said...

GVK, thankyou. The world would be such a different place if more people optimized life daily by living within their means, ethically and with integrity. A daily audit is a good way to ground ourselves and to check if we are on track or being seduced by avarice.