Dishes are piled up in the sink. Clothes are spilling over the edges of hampers. White fluffs of dog fur cover the floor.
Emails are unwritten. Texts have been ignored. Deadlines remain unmet.
This is my life right now.
Like many, I’m saddened by the state of the world. As a highly sensitive person, stories of conflict and violence are deeply unsettling to me. In addition, I’ve been horribly triggered for weeks. The stories on the news don’t merely touch my heart. They rattle my bones. They catch my breath. They evoke a screaming level of anxiety and fear.
As a person of Israeli–North African/Mediterranean–heritage, my ancestors have been fighting this war for generations. As a Jew, my ancestors have suffered the trauma of persecution and genocide for ages. My response to the current upheaval in the middle east isn’t intellectual. It’s visceral. Yet people insist on dismissing my experience, misreading my pain and engaging in political debate. While my mind holds its thoughts and opinions, my body is what must be dealt with first.
Whether you share this ancestral connection or not, if you’re an empathetic or highly sensitive person, a humanitarian or peace activist, or generally a loving person, you may also be feeling unsettled right now.
It’s difficult during times like these to know how much information to consume. We want to stay educated and informed but may be easily overwhelmed. It’s natural to feel helpless and afraid.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve had to let daily tasks go. I’ve had to put self care first. I’ve had to address the activation of my nervous system. I simply don’t have the energetic capacity to wash the dishes, fold the laundry or respond to messages right now.
What about you? How are you doing?
If you’re struggling, I suggest you also prioritize self care. Your mind may interject and try to convince you that you don’t have time, you need to do more, or your emotions aren’t valid. Please ignore this mental chatter. Your mind means well but it doesn’t actually know what it’s talking about.
Instead, consider offering yourself some support:
- Limit the amount of news you consume. Choose one or two trustworthy sources and only update yourself once/day or less. Personally, a weekly update is tolerable for me. Anything more sends me reeling.
- Unfollow or hide social media accounts that are triggering to you.
- Let some things go–housework, errands, or other unnecessary tasks don’t need to be a priority if they’re adding to your stress.
- Get physical. Your body needs to move and process emotion. Let your intuition guide you to the type of movement that’s best for you right now. Maybe you need an intense cardio workout or maybe you need a gentle yoga practice. Maybe both. Maybe a walk in nature, a swim or a soak would feel good. Listen to what your body is asking for.
- Connect with supportive people. Get together with friends, family, or community members who understand and maybe even relate with how you feel. Create loving space for one another.
- Let yourself have fun. It may be difficult to feel joyful or engage in playful activities while others in the world are suffering. But you suffering too doesn’t make them suffer any less. You need to be well resourced for your life, so give yourself permission to enjoy it.
- Extend care to those within reach. Be kind to people. Check on your friends. Help others out. Volunteer your time or energy to worthwhile causes. It helps to do good in the world, even if you’re efforts don’t directly help those affected by the violence on the news.
- Spend time in nature. It always helps.
- Make art–paint, write, sing, dance…it helps to process emotions creatively (don’t worry about being “good” at it).
- Connect with Spirit–meditate, pray, set an altar space, call on your guides–do whatever helps you feel connected to the divine.
My heart goes out to everyone who may be having a tough time processing what’s happening in the world right now. I especially send love to the Israeli, Jewish and Palestinian people who are most directly affected by the conflict in that area. I pray that we, as human beings, can find a way to release hatred and root into love. We are all one and the same.
With Love & Compassion,
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a lover, a guide and a supportive companion. An artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals connect more deeply with themselves and with others through shadow work. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.