Life seems to carry on and all the things I do seem trivial and inadequate because it is difficult to not think about war in Ukraine. How to take care of yourself in difficult times?
Last week has been the worst in my whole life - said Monika and she wants to tell you how to cope with high stress, when your brain is overloaded of scary news and you can't stop thinking about people fleeting home and being bombarded.
Yes - all of this might sound like “empty expressions” when you cannot stop thinking about other people's tragedy and what they are going through. But life carries on and we don't know for how long it has been given to us to live on this planet. That's why it is important to be able to deal with high stress and have techniques to be able to calm down.
Why? Because crying for days and bothering your family will not help you - quite the opposite it can cause you health issues like angst, huge distress for your body, insomnia, fever, etc.
Being able to manage your tension is very handy but it takes practice. If you are under high stress and tension it is important to learn how to help yourself.
Is it selfish to look after yourself when others suffer more than you?
They say that you can’t help others if you cannot help yourself.
Taking care of yourself in stressful situations is like charging your phone. Imagine that you have 10% of battery - you watch youtube and use many apps in that time so are you thinking that you need to charge ASAP right?
We function in a similar mode and learning to know when your battery is running low is important to keep healthy - physical and mental.
Our family needed to go for a long walk last weekend and then all of the sudden it started to snow - which was unusual and much needed to turn focus on something else. Watching big snowflakes whirling in the wind, creating snow blankets in the park and covering daffodils and crocuses, feeling freezing cold on the cheeks.
Nature has never failed in the time of distress, physical activity or this walk in the city is a good technique to net out your own distress.
Watching people around makes me feel better. Every single person on the street has a story to tell, had a good or bad day, yet they do what they need to do. They do shopping, meeting friends and drinking coffee. Life seems so small and banal but that's what mostly life is about. And you know what? Actually I wish you all to have only those small things in life to worry about, but we all know that sometimes we need to face big things in life too.
Edinburgh and history
There are many tourists in Edinburgh every day, people visiting, shopping souvenirs and eating. We too need to stop in the cafe and warm up a bit, should I have delicious cake or shouldn't I?
There are rhetorical questions any sensitive person can ask when going through difficult times but the fact is that we need to eat, you cannot live without food and sometimes having cake might improve your mood significantly.
Looking for little pleasures like watching old buildings and cobble streets of Edinburgh is soothing. This is a self protection technique of doing things to stay sane.
Victoria Street being the inspiration for Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Iconic Royal Mile. Edinburgh´s History feels on every corner of the city. Every single stone covered with moss has something to tell you about rainy and sunny days of the past.
They say that even if you are not interested in history, history will take interest in you. It is only a matter of time. History keeps repeating itself.
Museum of Scotland
As we walked enough to get tired and our thoughts were clearer we headed to the National Museum of Scotland. This museum, like access to all museums in the UK, is free and believe me it is easy to spend the whole day there and not be able to see everything. The building is majestic and museum collections are from technology, biology, art and history.
The Millennium Clock which plays music every hour - this 10 metre high tower echoes the form of a mediaeval cathedral. It marks the passing of time but is also a summary of the best and worst of the twentieth century.
And then we went to a temporary exhibition about birds in North America which was a calming and good experience. Very interesting as well to get to know passionate people from our history and their influence on getting to know the natural world.
Visiting a museum was something that our souls really needed, to spend some time surrounded by art. It gave us distance and an opportunity to relax and calm down after many saddened days.
However inadequate that might sound, life does carry on even in heartbreaking times and it is very important to take this opportunity to look around us and be more grateful for things we have: family, health, friends, job and that we live in a country where there is no war.
Let me finish this post with the quote from Emily Dickinson who said:
Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all
Until next time, adios!