Dear Therapist: I’d love to learn how to find balance in my mind right now with the weight of the world being just too heavy. I feel so selfish complaining about anything going on in my own life knowing the tragedies happening in Ukraine, and everything else.I have to limit the news because my mind and body can’t handle it, especially because I’m pregnant and just don’t want to be in an anxious state. I’m really having a hard time managing wanting to block the news out, and then feeling guilty or bad for behaving that way. I’d love to hear any advice on this.
Frame Therapist Avni Panchal weighs in:
First off, the feelings of uncertainty, sadness, guilt and anxiety are all normal. It can feel heavy when there's so much going on in the world as we continue to navigate the pandemic and our own personal and professional lives. In this day and age, the news is easily accessible and surrounds us every second of our day which can make it difficult to turn off. I can understand feeling guilty when we do try to take a step back from it because we may have the privilege to do so. However, finding a balance is important so we can function in a healthy manner.
Anxiety can feel overwhelming and we can ruminate over thoughts in our mind that make it more challenging to do day to day tasks. I can imagine managing your emotions while being pregnant and taking care of your health can be difficult. It's important to start with recognizing what's in your control and what's out of your control. This can help us assess where we want to focus on (taking care of our well being, maybe volunteering or donating) and what are things we may have control over and to set aside (tragedies happening in the world). Wanting to limit the amount of news you consume makes sense as it's a way to have boundaries with things that are impacting you.
You mentioned feeling selfish complaining about anything happening in your own life but if there is an impact on your body and mind then it's important to honor and give space to that impact. This may mean having some boundaries where you're limiting the amount of news you consume at certain times during the day. Implementing boundaries can feel selfish however boundaries help us sustain our well being in the long run. When we feel anxious, it's hard to concentrate and complete daily tasks that may be important for our well being. It may be important to remind yourself of your 'big picture' of wanting to be healthy throughout your pregnancy and doing activities that help you stay grounded (going on walks, listening to calming music, meditation). You don't have to stop watching the news but it may mean that you limit yourself on how much news you watch. Hopefully these steps help you prioritize your health and well being as you move through your pregnancy.
About the Therapist: Avni Panchal is an LCSW who runs virtual private practice (Strength + Self Love Wellness & Consulting) seeing adults for individual and couples therapy in California, Michigan and Nevada. She teaches at San Francisco State and is passionate about racial equity and inclusion work.
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