You’re not imagining it.

Life over the past two years has brought us one massive global crisis after another. It’s been so hard that psychiatric experts have begun talking at length about the impact of collective stress – resulting largely from exposure to “cascading collective traumas” – on the general population. Worst of all, it’s unclear when this general sense of tension will finally dissipate. So even as we work to find solutions, we still have to find a way to live with it.

At Wana Wellness, we make awesome CBD gummies. We’re not doctors or therapists or sociologists. But we ARE a group of human beings who consider ourselves highly invested in the health and wellness of others. So, here are some of the things that have helped our own team members navigate the challenging reality we’re living in.

Limit News Consumption

It’s important to stay informed about current events, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours a day doom scrolling.

Consider giving yourself only 30 to 60 minutes a day for reading/listening to/watching the news. Beyond that, disengage. Turn off push notifications from news sites, ask your friends not to send you upsetting articles, and stay off social media on days when a major crisis has occurred.

The little spikes of dopamine or outrage the news delivers may be addictive, but they aren’t actually helping you to solve anything – and they’re likely actually harming your sense of balance and safety in the world.

Take Care of Your Body (and Brain)

We’ve heard the term “self care” so much over the past few years that it’s lost a lot of meaning. But we’re not talking about face masks and ice cream binges. We’re talking about eating fruits and veggies, frequently moving your body, keeping up with medical appointments, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. In other words, self-care doesn’t just mean doing what makes you feel good in the immediate here and now. It means doing things that will make you feel good in the long term.

That includes taking care of your mental health. Therapy can be expensive, but there may be ways to access affordable care in your area. Alternatively, remote counseling apps like Talkspace and Sesh don’t require insurance and are typically less pricey than your average in-person session. Beyond that, taking time every day for some meditation, yoga, or “me time” of your choice can do wonders to keep the brain spiders at bay.

man sitting cross legged with eyes closed

Most importantly, if you or someone you know is actively considering self-harm or suicide, seek emergency medical attention or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

And speaking of mental health…

Pay Attention to Your Substance Consumption

We get it. When we were all quarantining, there wasn’t always much to do besides mix a cocktail or smoke some weed. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying (legal, regulated) substances like alcohol and cannabis… the latter may even be an important part of your wellness routine.

But it’s worth considering how you feel after your substance consumption. Has your mood actually improved? How do you feel the next morning? Is it impacting your body in a negative way? Are you still able to comfortably enjoy a sober evening on your own? If your answer to any of those questions causes you concern, consider cutting back. There’s absolutely no shame in seeking out resources to help you do it.

Break Your Stress into Bite-Sized Chunks

It feels like every day brings a new crisis or tragedy that deserves our attention. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Does that mean you should shut down and do nothing? No. But it does mean it’s ok to compartmentalize.

One way to do that is to give yourself specific, actionable tasks. Decide which causes are the most important to you – because you can’t realistically have an impact on all of them. Then give yourself a few attainable action items. Make 5 calls a day to your representatives. Take a Saturday to canvas for a local political candidate or organization. Attend a protest. Designate a portion of your monthly budget to charitable donations. Most of all, remember that you are only one person. Change usually happens not when a single hero comes forward to save the world, but when a lot of “one persons” come together to do what they can.

We should note, there’s a difference between being generally anxious about the climate crisis and being anxious because you can’t afford to put gas in your car. If you are struggling to get your basic needs met at this time, we are so sorry… and it’s ok to focus on just you and those closest to you.

two people reaching out and holding hands

Be Kind

The Washington Post recently reported on a widespread increase in “aggressive and often cruel” outbursts among the general populace, including threats against public officials, mistreatment of service workers, and just plain old bad behavior. People are tired of this constant uncertainty, their nerves are frazzled, and it’s causing them to lash out.

Turning the other cheek to this kind of behavior may sound cliché. And when someone is behaving in ways you find abhorrent, it can feel nearly impossible. The thing about other people, though, is that you can’t control what they do. You can only control how you respond to them.

The truth is, every single human being we encounter  – whether online or in the airport – is just that… a human being. Whether we agree with them or not, they have a complex interior life resulting from a lifetime of experiences we know nothing about. What does it cost us to give these folks the benefit of the doubt? What does it cost to meet their pain with compassion rather than retaliation? It might not change their mind… but it might help them to see the humanity inside of you.

Anyway, it’s worth a try, right? At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.