As #MeToo explodes into social media some people are not feeling empowered, they’re feeling overwhelmed and freaked out. Knowing you’re not alone can be a relief, but knowing that millions of people are tweeting #MeToo can have the opposite impact. If you are finding yourself upset when you yet again run into another #MeToo post or article, there are steps you can take to help yourself get through this challenging time.
- Take a vacation from social media
Give yourself permission to take a break. It is easy to flip to Facebook or Twitter or your favorite social media when you have a spare moment, but it may be a good idea to flip to an App that is unlikely to mess up your mood if right now your go to Apps are bringing up bad memories or simply too upsetting. My go to App when I feel the news is too dreadful is Zillow. I’m not in the market for a new home but I’d rather look at houses I can’t afford than hear one more upsetting news story.
- Put some vacation IN your social media
Many of us stay in contact with our friends, family and support network through our social media and cutting off that link would make us feel even worse. If this your situation, I suggest you consider following a few positive, heartwarming, or funny threads. My wife has @emergencykittens and @planetepics mixed her Twitter feed. So, mixed in with her news are pictures of adorable kittens and beautiful places, she says it helps her tolerate the rest of the news.
- Notice, Relax & Breathe
Often when we are really upset our bodies become tense and our breathing becomes fast and shallow. Do the 4-7-8 breath. Breath in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 7. Breath out for a count of 8. Repeat. Adjust how fast or slow you count so all 3 parts are comfortable. It also can be helpful to visualize your in breath as a relaxing sunny warmth and your out breath as carrying away your distress and upset.
- Notice where you are
If you find yourself being pulled into upsetting memories paying close attention to your surroundings can help push that memory back. Particularly focus on the aspects that are different from the memory. For example: If you’re sitting in your living room right now but the memory is of a bathroom you need to focus on the details of the living room that don’t fit the memory. It is particularly helpful to describe and talk about the details aloud.
- Hold an Ice cube or eat something spicy hot or really sour!
Grab an Ice cube and hold it really tight. Keep squeezing. Focus on how uncomfortable it feels. Hot sauce or super sour candies can work really well too. I usually recommend Warhead sour candy because they can be found in bags of individually wrapped candies, which makes it easy to carry a few with you everywhere.
- Call a friend, family member, or someone else
Reach out to a trusted friend or family member who can help you through this rough time. My only warning here is to choose who you reach out to carefully. What do you need? If you need to be distracted and pulled out of your bad mood, then call your friend or family member who does that well. If you need to talk about what is upsetting you, choose that friend or family member who is a good listener. If you don’t want to talk with a friend or family member there are other choices: Call your therapist, find a therapist, call an emergency hotline or 911.
I am an EMDR trained therapist in Austin Texas. I specialize in working with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse) and generally helping adults heal trauma. If you are ready to start your healing journey, please contact me or a trauma therapist near you.