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Sometimes we hear the bad news that affects us personally and sometimes we hear the bad news that affects communities, countries, the whole world! So how do we stay sane after bad news? 

It can be so distressing. so how do we stay sane after bad news? 

Fires destroy more than trees 

Australia and the bushfires, one example. 

The Corona Virus, another example. 

911?, Bali Bombing, The Boxing Day Tsunami, floods, earthquakes, drought. And so much more. Somewhere, some thought, some news bares greater impact for one reason or another. 

The Bali Bombing took my dear friends from me and their loving friends and family. 

Would I be right to say we have all possibly had an experience of learning of some disaster only to find it affects our sleep, our appetite, our stress, our anxiety, our relationships, and the rest…? Even post-event? So how do we stay sane after bad news? 

 

How to Stay Sane After Bad News

So some are directly involved in such disasters, and those who are affected in so many other ways. Tips to stay sane after receiving or experiencing such news becomes vital. 

Whether it’s experienced or witnessed, support may be needed. So how do we stay sane after bad news? 

We all experience trauma in our ways, and it also depends on what previous traumas we have encountered. It also depends on our current circumstances. That’s right, what you can hear and handle today may not have been so easy for you last year, and it may not be easy for you in 5 years. 

It’s important to find the right level and type of support for you. This may change as time passes too. What you needed last week may not be what you need next month. 

 

Talk feelings – they should not be ignored. this will help us stay sane 

Feelings can be painful. 

Don’t ignore them. 

Talking about it is very therapeutic. If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can always ring a helpline, go onto chat lines, forums, etc). I provide you with links below. 

Some disasters lead to loss of homes as well as employment. Family and /or relationship problems may commonly arise. These are stressful times. Relationship issues vary and may include physical, verbal, or even a lack of communication. It’s important to understand we all become affected in our ways, and need support in our ways too. So how do you stay sane after receiving or experiencing bad news? 

 

Overwhelming 

It’s true that in recent times, with the horrific events that have taken place, we are overwhelmed with sadness and grief. Consider the bush fires for example. Australia on fire said the headlines. The whole world was watching Australia burn on their news channels. No matter where you live, and what you do, you need to know how to stay sane amongst these events. Staying sane doesn’t mean staying ignorant. Staying sane means to be able to perform your daily functions and responsibilities as best as you can and as healthy as you can. Sometimes this means you have to make plans and take precautions. Don’t forget such events can disturb someone not just externally but internally too. 

Let us understand so that we can stay sane: In the early days… 

It is important that you involve yourself in activities that make you feel safe. Such activities should be calm and grounding. Try to get back into your routines as soon as possible. Encourage others to do the same. 

We are human, and we humans need connections. During struggling times it’s important to connect with those who help you feel calm and safe. You may just be that useful connection for someone else. Perhaps you can notice that someone requires a connection and you can get them started in the right direction. 

Children and adolescents need support too. You may not want to worry them, but let’s face it, they already are exposed to it. They watch the news, even if the TV is on in the background. They have access to social media, and quite often they just hear your conversations. 

I’m going to suggest, include them in discussions, offer reassurance and listen to their views too. Don’t forget to talk about feelings. You are never too old or young to talk about feelings. 

 

Social Media Breaks

Don’t be afraid to take a break from social media and watching /listening toNews. An abundance of tragic words and images may be circulating in a repeated fashion. I’m sure you would agree this is not helpful. Remember the aim is to stay sane after hearing bad news. 

This may be a good time to deliberately watch happy movies such as comedies, or read a light book, play board games with the family (or friends). Believe it or not, these things are important. They do not mean you are hiding from the facts. They mean you are also looking after your wellness and everyone else’s. 

Alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs or substances are not helpful during these times. 

Remember whilst you cannot change what has happened, over time your relationship to it will change. Be in charge as much as possible as to which direction you wish this change to go. 

It is common to experience worry, fear, and anxiety. Especially whilst you still feel unsafe. And for those who have lost, it’s okay to grieve. It’s important to go through the process. 

Eventually, you may experience some anger as you fail to understand what has happened or why. You may look for someone to blame or simply feel confused as to why such unfairness occurs. 

Different emotions may arise – pay attention to them. 

Make no mistake, you may feel that you can soldier on and keep moving. Be aware in case your feelings creep up in your behaviors or your later thoughts. My message to you here is, take some time to think about what has happened. Even if it doesn’t concern you directly, it doesn’t mean its not a concern. 

Even long after the disaster peaks, other devastations follow. Consider for example loss of vegetation and animals, the breakdown of communities, illnesses that follow. 

Knowing what has happened can make some people feel guilty or shock. These are normal reactions. Our bodies may take us into shock as a function to protect us. It’s amazing the way the body works. I’m going to suggest, don’t fight with yourself. 

look after yourself: stay sane 

Look after yourself. You may need professional help especially if you are experiencing overwhelm. Strong emotions tend to subside after about 6 weeks. If you find you are struggling, it’s time to get some support. 

Recognise when things are getting too much for you. It is important to listen to your body, recognise the signs of stress and take action towards wellness. The first step is to talk about it. 

Collectively understanding the normal reactions from being part of receiving bad news, you can now see the small but significant things you need to do to stay sane during these “insane” periods. Connect, reach out, talk, act and be. 

It’s also these events that we notice the whole country unite and look after one another. And allow me to mention the international help and acknowledgment that exists too. 

I never forget to be grateful and appreciative. 

May we always think of those who have lost and are so truly and deeply affected by such catastrophic events. 

The damage goes beyond the image. 

For Australia in particular, here is a list of some helpful providers, you can also speak with a GP to help make a recovery plan. 

 

National 24/7 Crisis Services 

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au 
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au 
  • beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au 

 

Additional youth support services   

  • headspace: visit headspace.org.au to find your nearest centre or call headspace on 1800 650 890 
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au 
  • ReachOut: reachout.com 
  • SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 or sane.org 

 

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