Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “Feeling Powerless,” who has faced so much frustration and uncertainty due to the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Feeling Powerless” is likely experiencing burnout and anxiety, which have negative health implications. I hope I might have some words of comfort and support to offer, if no more than to say that I, too, have felt this way off and on over the past two years.
Annie, you asked other readers to report how they have been coping. One strategy that has helped me was already used by “Feeling Powerless,” which is to ask for help. Reaching out to express anguish and fear is a powerful way to feel less alone. I have been seeing a therapist for this very reason.
Another thing that has helped me has been to disconnect from social media and limit my exposure to news. It seems these days that “the news” is just clickbait using fear-inducing headlines to keep our eyes on screens where advertisers stand to gain.
I have felt remarkably less afraid and anxious since I stopped using social media and consuming regular news sources. I have not entirely cut off all news, but I’m selecting sources that provide good references I can check out and do not use dramatic headlines. This means I do not follow any of the major media outlets.
I send my thoughts and prayers to “Feeling Powerless” in hopes that this offers some comfort. I think we are nearing the end of a very difficult period, and better days are ahead. – Reaching for Resilience
Dear Reaching: Thank you for your letter and great suggestions for feeling better and living a more joyful life. Many other readers offered the same advice – turn off the news. Not completely, of course, but too many said they feel like they are watching news programs 24/7, and the more they watch, the angrier they become.
Dear Annie: I, too, share the pessimism and sometimes sadness about current events with “Feeling Powerless.”
My coping skills have been to limit long periods of news watching and to try and help out locally. Helping out locally can be volunteering at a food bank, Meals on Wheels, a local park or preserve, a hospital, library, animal shelter or wherever one’s interest might be. It may not solve the global problems, but one can feel better about helping in some small way. – Trying To Cope Successfully
Dear Trying to Cope Successfully: Thank you for your wonderful letter. Helping others is one of the hidden secrets of joy. When we help others, very often the one we help most is ourself.
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