As the war in Ukraine shakes our sense of security - It is important to take care of oneself

Russia's war against Ukraine is understandably a cause for concern, both at home and in the work community. The acute phase emphasizes our strong need to talk, share ideas, and thereby try to understand the situation.

No one is immune to shocking war news, reminds Terveystalo's leading psychologist Tuija Turunen and now urges self-esteem.

– Be gentle with yourself if you find that the current crisis situation affects your own situation and, for example, your working life. Dealing with a serious matter always binds psychic energy and can for example manifest itself as a difficulty to concentrate. Different shocks also change the scale of values, and it is understandable that now the safety of oneself and loved ones is paramount, Tuija reminds.

New crisis situations also activate old ones.

– It is common for previous burdensome experiences or, for example, family stories about Finnish wars to become more active. A parent may also be concerned about how the child can be told about the war or how the possible spread of the war would mean to their loved ones. It is important to have both space for these feelings, but to force them away so that they do not constantly rotate in the mind.

You also have to know how to break free from war issues, and that doesn't mean you don't hear another's worries.

– When you take care of yourself, there are more resources to help others as well. So shake off your worries a little at the end of the work day and now take special care of yourself in your free time, Tuija urges.

There are no right or wrong feelings in crisis situations

According to Turunen, the crisis situation in the workplace should be taken seriously and empathetically, but not with fear. Transparency is the best starting point.

It is very understandable that strong reactions to the war in Ukraine are possible in the work communities and in the workplace. The hope of a normal everyday life after a two-year covid-19 exception situation turned into a completely new kind of crisis. For some, this can break the camel’s back.
Workplaces now need goodness and empathy, not hardness and coldness. Fortunately, the end of the distant work recommendation now also allows us to meet face-to-face in the offices - to be supported by joint discussions and attendance.

In crises, the gaze always turns to the authorities and the leader can show by their own example that different emotions are now understandable. That doesn’t mean work shouldn’t be done, but it’s good to create a safe environment where you can talk about feelings of fatigue and insecurity.

Normal everyday chores help with anxiety

Everyday routines like working also help with feelings of anxiety.

Now it would be good to strive for work and everyday life to continue as normally as possible. The work gives a good respite from the news flow and the focus also helps to take away thoughts. So focus on the moment, move and hobby and above all allow yourself to feel or not feel, Tuija reminds.

War is such an incomprehensible and uncontrollable thing that it always breeds a desire to help even somehow. This is already visible: good things feed good, even when bad things happen around them.