Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Anxious about Ukraine? North-east experts’ tips for coping

Feeling anxious about what's happening in Ukraine? These Aberdeen experts explain how to cope in times of deep concern.
Feeling anxious about what's happening in Ukraine? These Aberdeen experts explain how to cope in times of deep concern.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has left many feeling anxious and fearful of the future, with Putin threatening nuclear action.

The world was shocked by the news a full Russian invasion of Ukraine had begun.

Since then, many have been left in a state of alarm, some with loved ones still in Ukraine and others concerned at the wider impact on other countries.

We’ve spoken to three north-east psychotherapists for some tips on how to manage your anxiety during this uncertain time.

Feeling anxious about Ukraine is normal

Aberdeen expert Zac Fine says the news has come as a shock to many – but everyone will react differently depending on their past experiences.

“After the novelty of the news has gone away, some people will feel perfectly safe and go back to their usual concerns,” he said.

“Others will catastrophise. It’s at the heart of our lived experience and where our internal stories begin.”

Zac Fine explains why the situation in Ukraine is making others anxious.
Zac Fine.

“On seeing footage of the war in Ukraine, therefore, you may drop into a fight, flight or freeze state.

“Even though you are physically safe, your autonomic nervous system will screen that fact out and only detect the danger cue.”

How to cope with helplessness

Psychotherapist Tamsin Brett says watching the news about Ukraine unfold from afar can leave people feeling anxious and helpless.

She said: “These feelings can be so hard to process and can make us feel scared and fearful.

“There may [also] be feelings of uncertainty and unknown around whether there is going to be an escalation of involvement within our own lives and those we love.”

Tamsin Brett says sharing your feelings on Ukraine can be a good way to reduce anxiety.
Tamsin Brett says sharing your feelings on Ukraine can be a good way to reduce anxiety.

But Tamsin has developed her own coping mechanisms, which may help others too.

“For me, to help during such tough times, I reach out to others in a safe space,” she explained.

“Sharing what you are feeling and what is troubling you is a very simple but effective step.

“By offering each other a compassionate, empathetic and non-judgmental talking and listening space we can support each other during troubling times,” she added.

‘Keep doing what you’ve always done’

Jennifer Broadley says it’s important to keep your regular routines in place to help with a sense of normality.

“Although war is happening somewhere in the world, for now, it’s not impacting us getting up, dressed, getting to school or work, raising our families, exercising, feeding ourselves and connecting with friends,” she said.

“Keep doing what you’ve always done until there’s a real reason not to.”

Jennifer Broadley is encouraging people to continue their daily routines and not get distracted by anxiety over Ukraine.
Jennifer Broadley is encouraging people to continue their daily routines.

She also urged people not to spend too long checking the news on Ukraine if they’re feeling anxious.

“It’s important at times like this to limit your news intake,” Jennifer explained.

“If you’ve had an update today, there’s no reason to read, listen or watch again until tomorrow.

“Inflammatory use of language is not in itself a in indication of imminent physical danger and it’s important for our own mental health to acknowledge this.

“We can empathise with those in physical danger but we, for now, are not.

“Bringing our attention back onto our own daily lives and ‘what’s important for me today’ shows self-compassion – and helps with our mental resilience long term.”

Talking to kids about Ukraine: How to handle a worrying topic

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]