As the pandemic is finally waning and people have begun to get back to some semblance of normal life, the war in Ukraine has taken center stage in the world arena causing major upheaval from every angle. And just as I was during the pandemic, I am amazed at the differing opinions on it. 

It has been interesting to see the amount of Putin supporters who believe the Russian invasion is something completely different than what most of the rest of the world believes. I won’t go into details here, but it is definitely eye-opening. Then there’s the media: While it’s disappointing, you can’t believe everything you see or read by mainstream media. There was misrepresentation and outright lies in some cases on specific incidents happening in Ukraine early on, none of which I will list here for reasons, not the least of which is space constraints. But none of this changes the fact that it is clear that Russia has been targeting civilians at this point, and whatever you believe, I personally find it hard to go about my everyday life knowing that innocent souls are leaving the planet every minute for no good reason. Read on to see how I cope with that. 

There are points being made regularly about the fact that there are humanitarian crises every day in our country (and others) and we aren’t taking care of our own, and the only reason we are caring about Ukraine and its people right now is because it’s the crisis du jour and the media is telling us that’s what we should care about. Well, I care about it all, but I certainly have no solutions or answers, and wouldn’t pretend to tell anyone else how they should feel about any of it, either. I think there is a general feeling of helplessness, which is only human. Though there are many ways one can help, and please do not hesitate to reach out to the many legitimate organizations who are providing real-time aid to the people of Ukraine. The Red Cross is but one. I do not have the space here to list them all. 

Now, it seems disconcerting to hear military jets overhead and threats of chemical and cyber warfare, but the Ukrainians are living a minute-by-minute assault on their very existence, so my own worries pale by comparison. But, there is one undeniable fact: life goes on for each of us until it doesn’t, and no amount of guilt, helplessness or handwringing for situations out of our control can change that.

So, my takeaways from the last few years are serving me well during this latest conflict: appreciate all the blessings in your life; don’t always believe what you see/hear/read; don’t believe everything you think; and fear-based thoughts and actions aren’t constructive. I feel better and function better when I choose positivity. What I know for certain is what I am feeling deep down inside, and people have expressed similar thoughts to me too: There is big change coming from all of this—the last two years of the pandemic as well as this war—and however some groups are labeling that change, it’s definitely coming. And it’s affecting people in a myriad of ways, emotionally. Unrest, anxiety and depression are pretty rampant, and if you are struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family or a professional to talk things out. And most importantly, seek out sunshine, in people and the real thing. That brightness can be a big boost.