When Kathy and I took birthing classes during her first pregnancy, there was a suggestion to have a personal item – like a teddy bear – with her at the hospital during labor. That focal point served as a distraction during painful contractions… taking her mind to a different place as she took in a series of ‘he-he-hoo’ breaths.
While 30 years have passed since our first experience in the birthing suite, the technique seems relevant today. With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to be sucked into a swirling whirlpool of negativity around the latest news.
Headlines. Twitter. Briefings. Every bit of information combines to impact how someone views their situation right now.
Using well-intentioned words with family and friends like ‘it will all work out fine’ doesn’t alleviate what they are experiencing… and it might add to their frustration. Perhaps the best thing you can do is show empathy: acknowledge their feelings and let them know you’re there should they need someone to listen.
As for your own health, take a daily break from news outlets and the online rabbit hole. Spend time reading the novel you never got to, binge watching a comedy you haven’t seen… or focus on a teddy bear and allow yourself a few minutes of peace. And be sure to breathe.