The Rebound: Tips for managing stress & anxiety in the midst of daunting news

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Posted at 6:27 AM, Jun 05, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Whether it is being fatigued by social distancing, fearful about what it means for businesses to be opening back up, or feelings of sadness or guilt over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, lately there has been an abundance of important yet potentially upsetting news almost daily.

"I think many of us are really emotionally overloaded right now, " said Shannon Sauer-Zavala, PhD.

Sauer-Zavala, a licensed clinical psychologist, said if you are feeling that way, it makes a lot of sense.

Tips for managing stress & anxiety in the midst of daunting news

"We're designed to have emotions to communicate what's important to us, what matters and to motivate us to make changes, " Sauer-Zavala explained.

So, beyond acknowledging your feelings and being a bit kinder to yourself, what are some other things you can do to manage this stress or anxiety? First and foremost she said it is important to examine how you are thinking about current events.

"In terms of coronavirus are you telling yourself that you'll definitely get sick if you go back to work? Are you telling yourself that you can't handle one more day without childcare?"

She stressed the way we think about things can drastically change our views and the feelings we have inside.

"I encourage people to sort of shift their perspective, " Sauer-Zavala explained. "Remind yourself that you do actually have a little bit more control, even in what feels like an overwhelming situation."

Next, she said examine what you are doing with your behavior and outline actionable steps for yourself.

"Instead of 'I'm definitely going to get sick,' maybe it's 'the probability of me getting sick is not zero, but I can take necessary precautions like wearing a mask using hand sanitizer,'" Sauer-Zavala said. "With regard to racial injustice, perhaps people are noticing thoughts that might lead to feelings of guilt. Instead of stopping there, maybe acknowledge maybe you could've done more previously, but there's still plenty of work to do."

Sauer-Zavala also said consider how much information you are consuming. She said while it may feel like paying constant attention to the news and scrolling social media is the responsible thing to do, it can have the opposite effect.

"If you do want to take a break, it doesn't make you a bad person. Remind yourself that by kind of taking a break from some of this onslaught of really negative news can actually sort of buoy you, relieve some of that fatigue, so that you are able to take some of those meaningful, actionable steps."