How to stay sane after bad news.

Sometimes we hear bad news that affect us personally and sometimes we hear bad news that affect 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?

How to stay sane after bad news. Bush fires
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. Planet earth is in trouble.
Bad News for planet earth

So there are those who 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 own ways, and it also depends on what previous traumas we have encountered. It also depends on our current circumstances. Thats 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

How to stay sane after bad news. Don't ignore your feelings
Feelings can be painful.
Don’t ignore them.

Talking about it is very therapeutic. If you do not feel comfortable taking to someone you know, you can always ring a help line, 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 own ways, and need support in our own ways too. So how do you stay sane after receiving or experiencing bad news.


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 not 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 really disturb someone not just externally but internally too.

Lets 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 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 is in need of 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 back ground. They have access to social media, and quite often they just hear your conversations.

How to stay sane during bad news. Take a break from social media and the news

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

social media

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. Im 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. In fact 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.

How to stay sane during bad news. Pay attention to different emotions that arise.
Different emotions may arise – pay attention to them.

Make no mistake, you may feel that you can soldier on and keep moving. Be aware incase your feelings creep up in your behaviours 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, there are other devastations that 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 body 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.

Its 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.

How to stay sane during bad news. The damage often goes beyond what one sees with the eye.
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
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or
beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or

Additional youth support services 

headspace: visit to find your nearest centre or call eheadspace on 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 or

How to stay sane during bad news. Volunteer and donate
Donate for a good cause

Places to go for help now:

  1. Lifeline 13 11 14 (24hrs) or
  2. Government Assistance: help-emergency/bushfires
  3. Drought Assistance Hotline 13 23 16
  4. Farm Assistance Hotline 1800 050 585
  5. Rural Financial Counselling Service 1800 686 175
  6. The Red Cross:
  7. St Vincent De Paul: Disaster_Recovery/
  8. Salvation Army: disasters-and-emergencies/
  9. If your family is finding it difficult to pay for basic items such as food and petrol, you may be eligible for short term emergency relief assistance (e.g. food or petrol vouchers.) To access this kind of help, talk to your local Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul or Material Aid/Emergency Response Agency.

Utilise online resources:

  1. Centrelink –
  2. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources:
  3. Farmsafe:
  4. National Association for Loss & Grief (NALAG):
  6. Rural and remote mental health:

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850

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