Your Health Matters


How to take care of your mental health while staying informed on current events

Posted at 7:44 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 10:44:48-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There was a wave of emotions as people across the country watched last week’s riots at the United States Capitol.

"Whenever a tragedy or something uncertain happens, it brings uncertainty or fear within ourselves," said Associated Marriage and Family Therapist Jacob Kountz.

While watching these kind of events, Kountz said it’s important to focus on being present right where you are.

“Noticing thoughts that appear without judging them. Without attaching any kind of description to them. You’re just saying, 'Oh, this is just crossing my mind. I’m going to let it be,'” said Kountz.

It’s easy to feel out of control. To counter that, Kountz said to write down five things you are in control of, like when you go to work or what you eat for lunch.

“These little things can really help us define what we still have in control because [it's] still going to feel like there are things out of our control right now," said Kountz.

Deep breathing can also reduce feelings of anxiety. Instead of breathing up in your chest and shoulders, place your hand on your stomach and focus on moving your hand with your breath.

As for your little ones, be mindful of how often you watch the news around them.

“The overconsumption of it and [the] mass amount of information that only our heads can take in, it can be very overwhelming," said Kountz.

But you don’t need to hide these events from kids. For younger children, Kountz said find out what they know, what the want to know and stick to the concrete facts. End the conversation with a reminder that they are safe and secure.

For older children, Kountz said to recognize that they might have their own opinions, and remember that positivity can always make a difference.

“There’s that saying, you know, the calm before the storm," he said. "I try my best to think about flipping it [to] where there will be the calm approaching after the storm.”

Kountz encouraged everyone to reach out to friends and family for supports, and to remember that therapists are still here to help you even during the pandemic.