• 12/04/2024 06:26

War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory


Mar 1, 2024

Advice from psychologists on how to minimize harm from conditions caused by long-term stress  More than half (55%) of Ukrainians surveyed noted that they have been feeling tired lately. Such results of a study by Gradus Research conducted in December 2023 were published in February 2024. At the same time, researchers note that the feeling of fear and panic has almost halved. from 49% at the beginning of a full-scale invasion to 25% now.

However, now you can often hear: don’t worry about fatigue if you’re not at the front. As a result, the feeling of exhaustion experienced by many of us is also added to the guilt of being, you see, tired.

We asked experts about how to minimize the damage from these conditions caused by prolonged stress.


First of all, you need to understand the concepts. Because what civilian Ukrainians now call “war fatigue” is actually – this is fatigue from the fact that people have been experiencing constant intense stress for two years, which most of them did not experience before a full-scale war.

<img title="War is exhausting. There is" src="https://baltimorechronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/1df86acf11b3404bbd8d44685a290066.jpg" alt="War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory – there is "Valeria Paliy, President of the National Psychological Association. Photo by Valeria Paliy/Facebook

«In a professional environment, such a definition as “war fatigue” no – This is how ordinary people now talk about their condition, – explains presidentkaof the National Psychological Association Valeria Paliy.– Psychologists use other concepts: exhaustion, various depressive symptoms. But the sociological studies you refer to confirm the debate in our professional community.  In the first year of the full-scale invasion, various types of anxiety disorders predominated. people were worried because they didn't know what to expect, now everything has become more clear. And, no matter how cynical it may sound, it is already difficult to surprise Ukrainians with anything: we have survived shelling, explosions, and blackouts… And now the question that comes to the fore in people’s minds is: when will this all end? It is this waiting that exhausts many.

At the same time, we find confirmation of the reasons for our overwhelming emotional stability in fresh social research from the Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Research. O. Razumkova. In February 2024, when assessing their own psychological state, only 25% of Ukrainians spoke of a high level of panic, fear and uncertainty. And at the beginning of a full-scale war, 49% of respondents considered their condition to be this way, twice as many. Yes, there is less fear and panic, but fatigue has increased. IMPORTANT POINT: WE WENT TO WAR IMMEDIATELY “FROM COVID”

Another important point that many people overlook: we entered the war immediately “ ;. It was intense stress lasting two years for the vast majority of Ukrainians. that is, we are already exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic, without a break we have come under further stress. from a full-scale invasion, – notes Director of the Institute of Health Psychology Vladimir Voloshin.

War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory

Vladimir Voloshin, director of the Institute of Health Psychology. Photo Vladimir Voloshin/Facebook

According to him, there are neurophysiological mechanisms: when we experience intense stress, its consequences almost always affect us: both mental and physical health will deteriorate, we are more likely to age, and diseases are younger (that is, people begin to get sick earlier than usual). ;

If we turn again to sociology (Gradus Research), we will see that the level of stress among Ukrainians in 2024 is quite high – 88%. It was the same in April 2023. In 2020, this figure was 78%. In dynamics, you can see that a high level of stress is quite typical for Ukrainian society, and the war did not greatly affect it.


As Valeria Paliy confirms,stress – This is an absolutely normal reaction of the body, but it should be quite short. When we experience difficult life collisions, the body’s task is; mobilize, find a resource, overcome them and continue to live a normal life. But when a person is in such conditions, when for a long time nothing is resolved, nothing ends, and you are unable to change anything globally. this is already a state of constant stress. 

War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory

Photo: logoff/Depositphotos

“Stress – this is a specific mode of operation of the hormonal system: people sleep poorly, get sick more often, their chronic diseases worsen, their mood deteriorates, there may be various cognitive difficulties (it’s more difficult to remember something, you get confused, you become distracted, distracted). These are absolutely natural reactions to the long-term stressful “marinade” in which we find ourselves, – says the psychologist. And the more a person lives in stress, the more pessimism he will develop. Her self-esteem will decrease and her distrust of negative worldviews will grow.

And the latest social research of the “Rating” group confirms this to us – From August 2022 to February 2024, people's sense of sum (from 29% to 39%) and fear (from 11% to 21%) increased. Moreover, as sociologists note, fear is fear; an emotion that fluctuates noticeably between different categories of respondents (more common among refugees; those whose relatives are now in the Armed Forces of Ukraine; among young people). 



Of course, the stress of civilians is different from the stress of military personnel. 

“On the line of contact, where there are explosions, shelling and constant threats, the experience is certainly more intense. But stress, if we are at a far distance from active military operations, has its own specifics. When a person is at the front, he has a certain influence on the situation. But in relatively rear cities we don’t have such influence, – says Vladimir Voloshin. The expert said that the Ukrainians who went abroad at the beginning of the full-scale invasion experienced everything much more intensely than those who remained in Ukraine. Because the first – were far away and had less influence on what was happening, while the latter -; went into volunteering, joined some initiatives, which helped them regain control of their well-being. 

«When we are affected by prolonged stress, a measured plan is important, at least on your day. The sequence of actions returns us a certain sense of control, – added a psychologist.

Indeed, the share of those who are actively involved in volunteering in Ukraine and regularly donate is quite large. according to a Gradus Research survey, it has not changed since February 2023 and remains at 44% — almost half. And this confirms the words of the psychologist about the internal need of people to provide such help and a stable mood to fight further.


Now we are trying to figure out how long we can live in such a state of prolonged stress? 

– No one will tell you this, because the experience of “staying” is so rich in information. no nation has ever been in a war. Of course, history knows wars that lasted longer (30-year war, 100-year war), but then people were not in such a dense information flow, were not so “involved.” ; into the war through news, telegram channels, TikTok, etc., – Vladimir Voloshin answers my question.

– But there is modern the experience of Israel, where the war lasts almost 80 years and people somehow learned to live in this state and cope psychologically!

– Their experience cannot be compared with ours, since there is one huge difference. Our trauma is much more intense, because we were attacked by someone who was considered almost a brother. This injury – betrayal of a loved one. Experts will confirm – The closer a person is to you, the closer the emotional connection you have with him, the stronger the traumatization will be from it. Therefore, our situation is radically different from Israel: Arabs and Israelis are not intertwined by family ties, like Ukrainians and Russians. And with us, because of this “closeness” some people take a very long time, despite understanding that this is – war, they couldn’t accept it… – says the psychologist.


So, feeling tired – This is an objective reality; Ukrainians cannot erase it from the palette of their daily states. But is it worth hiding it carefully? After all, someone can always reproach: Look around. Is it really the worst for you?

Valeria Paliy answers: 

– In fact, you need to talk about any of your states and feelings, but you need to differentiate – when and to whom to tell. Experts insist that it is important to recognize problems or some difficulties with your physical and psychological condition. this is completely normal. How to do it is another matter. If you just say: “I’m tired,” and this – the fact with which you go into public space (it doesn’t matter whether it’s Facebook or conversations among friends), – this does not provide any constructive or solution. But if you admit to yourself: “I’m exhausted, I’m tired, but I’m trying to find how to support myself,” that’s – much more constructive and provides many opportunities to solve the problem.

– However, many now forbid themselves to be tired, because the guys in the trenches are worse off than us. – There is no need to compare yourself with anyone. Because there is always someone who is worse off than you. You lost your job and that’s why you miss it, but there are people who have lost both their jobs and their housing; you lost a relationship, and there are those who lost relationships and jobs. You now live in Ukraine, but there are people who live in a country where the war generally seems eternal and there is much less support for peace. When a person compares himself with others, he goes towards devaluing his experience. This is a completely unconstructive position. We must understand that those on the front line certainly experience difficulties, but they have their own resource. Each situation is individual. You should always be focused on your condition and ask yourself the question: “What is happening to me now?” How am I feeling? And if I don’t feel “ok”, what can I do to change it?”, – gives advice to Mrs. Valeria.


According to Valeria Paliy, according to various statistics, approximately half of the population of Ukraine will require psychological intervention of varying intensity. from a one-time consultation with a specialist to drug treatment. But this is not about everyone, because people are different, situations are different, and ways of overcoming stress and defense mechanisms are different. everyone is very different. 

War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory

Illustrative photo

“You don’t need to get into a panicky mood. In each specific case, you need not to think globally, but to think about yourself right now in this state and try to evaluate it from 1 to 10, where 10 is 10 years. this is very good for you, 0 –ndash; very bad. If you rate yourself a 6 – just reflect on why you feel like a 6 and not a 10? And ask yourself the basic question: what can you do that is available now to cope? If the methods that previously helped (for example, sleep or hobbies) no longer help, then you need to turn to specialists who will help you figure it out and find a different angle of view or available resource support. The main thing is not to compare yourself with others, to think in terms of “everything”, leveling your experience. When we talk about everyone, we are simultaneously talking about no one, and we need to talk about ourselves, especially when it comes to mental health, – Ms. Paliy emphasized.


Psychologist Vladimir Voloshinadvises you to make the most of every opportunity to relieve yourself. This doesn’t mean sunbathing on the beaches or going to loud parties, but if possible, it’s worth taking a walk, drinking tea or coffee, chatting, playing sports.

Photo: gazeta.ua

“The military guys we work with, even on the front lines, find the quality of opportunity for restorative positivity helps them be in better physical and psychological condition. We usually explain it this way: if a car is used intensively and the engine runs at constant high speeds, then what will soon happen to this car? They answer us: the engine will jam and the chassis will fall apart. So for us too – ndash; people – you need to do a “technical inspection” from time to time. Because if we don’t do this, our “machine” will fail. will fail very quickly. And with the “reboot” – will be able to continue working, helping others, – Mr. Voloshin shares.

War is exhausting. But Ukrainians have faith in victory

Photo: armyinform.com.ua

Therefore, two years of full-scale war took a psychological toll on us – We clearly see a general trend of growth in negative emotions, a certain decrease in optimism and fatigue. But. Despite such emotional stress, Ukrainians are actively returning to work, working, adding to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, volunteering and making plans for the future. And the emotion of pride for one’s country in sociological studies remains dominant (56%) over sadness, fears and fatigue. And most importantly – we believe in the victory ofUkraine in this war. The majority of respondents (85%) do not doubt this in any way and do everything possible, and sometimes impossible, to bring it closer.

Lyubov Baziv.Kiev

The first photo is illustrative


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