February 25, 2022
My Dad was a Canadian Gunnery Naval Officer during WWII and was aboard two “corvette” mine-sweepers – one in the Atlantic conflict and one later in the war in the Pacific. He didn’t talk about it much but I know his faith and family helped him immensely whilst upon stormy seas and facing the constant threat of hitting a mine or engaging in ship-to-ship combat. Today, we’re all reeling from the news that Russia is continuing its invasion of Ukraine, a free and democratic country who only wanted to be just that. The sad effects will be global, and many may think a drink (or two or three or more) will help mitigate the anxiety and stress of not knowing what might happen next. Instead, I offer these ten tips to leverage as alternatives to numbing with alcohol in hopes they help you navigate through these tough times. We are in it together to stay strong and hopeful that a peaceful world solution will find a way!
Here are 10 tips to help:
1. Identify people who can help you — a friend, clergy, mental health professional, financial advisor—and seek help if needed. Some of these sources can supply emotional support, while others can provide direct help with day-to-day problem solving. Resolve to be open about problems and work on resolving them together, either with family members or these professionals who can help.
2. Dismantle big problems into manageable small parts. Then, attack and solve these parts as a means of rebuilding your confidence. A step-by-step approach can eventually resolve the larger problem.
3. Be an active player, not a passive victim. Social involvement through religious or spiritual organizations, social media groups, donating to valid Ukrainian humanitarian aid groups, will allow you feel supportive and positive that you are helping as best you can.
4. Don’t put off solving problems. Begin to work on problems immediately; inaction can reinforce the feeling that a problem is out of your control.
5. Don’t seek solace in alcohol. This not only fails to resolve the problems at hand but will create new ones.
6. Recognize that readjustment is normal. Don’t blame others for your distress, and don’t blame yourself excessively. We all will need to adjust to a “new normal” as this all plays out. Be kind to yourself.
7. Keep things in perspective. Cynicism or excessive pessimism about life and the future can become self-fulfilling and have a negative impact on you and others. Keep things in perspective—not every problem is a catastrophe. Although it sounds simplistic, a positive outlook helps raise morale and increase resilience.
8. Recall how you met past challenges and use the same strategies to meet the stresses of the present. By facing current problems with an eye to solutions, you are more likely to achieve a sense of progress, of “getting ahead” with life, no matter the hurdles.
9. Realize that the stress of the world-wide situation can magnify other daily stresses, so make allowances for yourself and your family. Disconnect from media and take time outs daily to be grateful in any way you can. Express your love often to family, friends and neighbours.
10. Accept as inevitable some setbacks in the return to “life as normal”—whether they are emotional, financial, physical or job-related. At the same time, be aware that the skills of resilience can help you bounce back!
May Your Anchor Hold