Our lives have changed in the last few days. The Ukraine war has upset all of us. The worries and terrible impressions unsettle us and cause stress. How do you deal with it? SoSUE editor Knuth has written down how he deals with this crisis.
It was in the first days of the Ukraine war. A friend wrote to me on Instagram. I had not heard from him for many years. I was happy that he contacted me again. "How are you?", I asked. His reply came back quickly. "I'm doing very privileged!" he replied and continued "I have a warm apartment, enough to eat, electricity, fresh water and no war in the neighborhood!" I agreed with him. There was no reason for complaint in my case either. Neither did I have relatives in Ukraine, nor were people I knew fleeing, and I didn't have to deal with any trauma. Basically, I should be fine if it weren't for this chaotic feeling of fear, anger and uncertainty. I was almost ashamed of it, because I realized that it was out of proportion to the terrible suffering of the Ukrainians. But this tenacious trepidation is there, it occupies me and I cannot deny it.
The news has not gotten any better in the last few days. It is a horror without end. I staggered for a while until I found my balance again. It was perhaps due to the proximity to the war going on in Europe and that I have become more sensitive after two years of pandemic. I am useless for too many crises. But I can handle the situation better now.
When I got over the first shock, a few things straightened me out. I have written them down for you. Some of them are quite banal, nevertheless they were not unimportant for me, because they help me to look into the future again, no matter how this war will end one day.
Helping - One way for me to get out of my stupor was to donate. I trust most aid organizations because they are professionals and they know exactly what is needed on the ground in times of crisis. I also offered my help and signed up on a list in case helpers were still needed. If I had a larger apartment, I would even take in refugees. It's certainly not much, but doing something meaningful helps me.
Protest - I had to vent my anger and wanted to set an example with many others. I used to go to demos more often, why I didn't do it all these years I don't understand myself anymore. It's great to see so many different people coming together and standing up for one thing. Being able to voice your displeasure and exchange ideas gave me the feeling that I'm not alone. Also, I think protesting can actually make a difference and is a good way to show support.
Listening to music - When the stream of bad news did not subside and the frustration grew, I listened to music. There is something wonderful about music because it comforts me. How it manages to do that, I've never really understood. It's just the way it is. Especially in times of crisis, it always feels to me like someone is taking me on their lap. Here is my comfort music from the last few days:
- Beethoven – 6. Sinfonie, Pastorale
- Stromae – Multitude, Album
- Marvin Gaye – What‘s going on, Album
Talking - It can't be avoided, there is talk about the war and its consequences everywhere: At the cheese counter, at work, or at family gatherings. That's good. It helps me and others to understand the war better and to deal with the resulting grief together. I keep learning that in crises, people are happy to share their concerns and many even listen, which is reassuring for everyone involved. I think that's good because it makes the world more human.
Inform - I am a news freak. Since the invasion of Ukraine, I've been following what's happening almost in real time thanks to digital media. I mainly get information from serious news channels, daily newspapers, agencies, blogs and NGOs. It helps me to be able to assess the situation better. But my attention capacity also has limits. My experience is that a continuous loop of destruction, violence and flight only makes you more helpless and desperate. I take news breaks. Although I have to admit, I'm having a hard time sticking to my news breaks this time around. I keep checking back because I want to read the word PEACE.
Moving - Every now and then I take a break from my own thoughts. I then need to switch off and need other impressions to sweep away my melancholy. For me it works best when I move outside in the fresh air. When I run I can switch off well, here I come to rest, can sort myself, digress and even find inspiration.
Structuring - It's the quintessential coaching classic, but it's true, structuring your day helps me especially in uncertain times. Getting my tasks done was difficult for me in the early days of the war. I was too distracted and brooding. But since I have a fixed daily schedule, I kept control and didn't drift too much.
Knuth is a founding member of SoSUE and supports other brands. He himself describes his work as "something with media. The Hamburg native would love to move to a mountain with a beach. Learn more about Knuth on his website Collideor and Scope.