How To Take Care of Your Mental Health When It Feels Like the World Is Going to Shit

*This article is not a substitute for therapy. If you suspect you are struggling with mental health issues please seek the help of a professional*

In today’s world, it’s difficult to look anywhere without feeling bombarded by depressing news about the events happening around the globe, which is stressful enough for those without issues like anxiety or depression. But can make someone who does struggle with issues like those feel even worse. A world filled with political controversy and apocalyptic natural disasters does little to help ease the minds of people already feeling hopeless and defeated by their day-to-day life — I know from experience. So here are a few tips to deal with the added weight of where the world is headed.

1. Stay off social media

I know it’s hard because so often social media can be a respite after a tiring day, but there’s little to no chance you won’t run into some kind of political to social discourse, or some mention of the latest troubling world event, which can be exhausting to read about. To fill your free time, read your favorite book, start a new show, or go on a quick walk to clear your mind.

2. Prioritize yourself

If you can’t help people in unfortunate situations, it is not your fault. You are allowed to prioritize yourself over them. There are people who will make it out like you’re the worst person in the world if you don’t do anything to help, but remember that you can’t always be a hero. Sometimes you can never be a hero, and that is perfectly okay. You won’t be of help to anyone if you’re burned out because you didn’t focus on yourself.

3. Focus on the responsibilities of your daily life

You won’t alleviate any stress by ignoring your responsibilities to focus on world events, you’ll just add to it. Kill two birds with one stone by getting stressful tasks out of the way and distracting yourself from current events.

4. If you can, help people out

If you have the energy and resources to help people, do so. Research shows that volunteering for causes close to one’s heart can be beneficial for their emotional state. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, spreading the word about needed charity work or fundraisers is a good way to contribute. We can’t all drop everything to join the Peace Corps, but most everyone can drop a link to volunteer programs on Facebook to get the word out to those who can.

5. Remember that not everything is miserable

This may be the hardest task. Tearing away from focusing on the worse things happening in the world is difficult because we may feel like everywhere else we look is going to hold the same horrible news, but I promise you good things are still happening in the world. I know it doesn’t feel like that’s true, and I know it can feel wrong to be happy when you know that people are suffering, but your mental well-being is what’s most important.

All in all, it’s difficult to take care of one’s mental health even in the least stressful situations, and that’s okay. Making it worse by focusing on everything bad going on in the world should not be on your to-do list. Having days where you just can’t deal with functioning is, while not ideal, not a sign that you’re failing at trying to take care of yourself. Most of us will need a reminder to prioritize ourselves once in awhile, so, the world may not be in the best place right now, but your mental health does not have to suffer because of it.

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Rory is a Midwestern teen interested in destroying the patriarchy and creating a better world. They like girls, Norse and Celtic mythology, and learning far too many languages at once.

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