'News about child abuse, street crimes keeps me stressed'

"The whole idea of not feeling safe keeps my thoughts consumed and triggers stress"

Haya Malik

Hi Haya,

I’m a Karachi-based journalist and most of the time remain stressed about how living in this city has become a nightmare with no guarantee of safety for either adults or children. Being a part of a newsroom and being surrounded by news of all kinds 24/7 has me worried most of the time.

The thought of my young children being unsafe, especially after learning about continuous cases of child abuse every now and then, keeps me on my toes. I remain troubled at the thought of them being at risk at any given time, as there is no guarantee of what may happen.

On the other hand, the swiftly increasing rate of street crimes has endangered the life of citizens in Karachi. Whenever outside the house, I remain constantly stressed about what route to take and which one to avoid to ensure that I don’t come across street criminals.

The whole idea of not feeling safe keeps my thoughts consumed and triggers stress. How can I, as a resident of this unsafe city, feel at ease?

News about child abuse, street crimes keeps me stressed

Dear worried father,

I hear the unsafe situation of the city is making you stressed and worried and rightly so. It's completely understandable to feel overwhelmed and constantly on edge, especially when you're surrounded by news that highlights the dangers lurking in your city.

It’s essential to recognise that concerns for safety are valid and natural, however, constantly dwelling on these can lead to enhanced stress and impact your overall health and wellbeing.

So what can you do?

One of the most important strategies to focus on is what is within your control.

You can either focus on the things in your control OR on the things out of your control.

You do not have control over the external environment or the actions of others, and when you continue to focus on those, feelings of worry, anxiety and helplessness only increase.

However, you do have control over how you respond to these stressors and the measures you take to ensure your safety and that of your family.

What that could look like?

Limit news consumption: In your role as a journalist, it is not likely to limit yourself from hearing news at work. However, being constantly bombarded with distressing news can enhance your anxiety. Consider limiting your exposure to news in whatever capacity you can, and tune off from hearing it when with family and around bedtime.

Develop safety plans: What could you possibly do to ensure that your kids are as safe as possible in your absence. Perhaps connect with a reliable day care or a family member who could be with your kids in your absence? Explore a possibility if there is a way you could bring them to work with you?

Pertaining to street crime: Try to find the safest routes possible, avoid being on the streets after a certain time, explore the possibility of not being on the road alone, perhaps have someone pick you up or you could explore the avenue of carpooling with other colleagues. Find what works. Having a structure and tentative plan can provide a sense of empowerment and control.

Have a support network: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family members or colleagues who understand your concerns and can offer emotional support. Sharing your feelings with others who can empathise can help alleviate some of the burdens you're carrying.

Explore relocation: If after trying everything in your capacity and doing all that you could explore relocating if that is an option in anyway possible to a place or city that will allow you to feel more safer.

Focus on stress management and wellbeing: Unresolved stress can interfere with daily functioning and impact your overall health and wellbeing. In addition to the above, take-out time to focus on yourself and manage your stress via some stress management techniques for yourself.

This could include breathing exercises, yoga, exercise, journaling, meditation, or anything else that works for you. Remember, to take care of your kids in the most best and present manner possible you need to take care of yourself. You first need to put your mask on first and then help others!

Remember that while you may not be able to eliminate all sources of stress and uncertainty, you can take proactive steps to manage your anxiety and find moments of peace amidst the chaos. By focusing on what you can control and prioritising self-care, you can gradually cultivate a greater sense of ease and resilience in navigating the challenges of living in an unsafe city.

Goodluck and best wishes!


News about child abuse, street crimes keeps me stressed

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.

Send her your questions to [email protected]

Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and Geo.tv do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein. All published pieces are subject to editing to enhance grammar and clarity.