Imagine a small village in the rural part of Ukraine with barely any internet connection. That’s where Earkick team member and iOS developer Igor M. had to move to in order to escape the constant, nerve-wracking air raid alerts. The noise made him highly nervous, adding to his insomnia that had flared up again when the Russians invaded his home country. He knew he had to prioritize his mental health in order to support his young family and serve his fellow Ukranians in a sustainable way. A lesson he had learned 18 months earlier.
Battling the Consequences of a Covid Infection
After recovering from a Covid infection in 2020, Igor’s challenges with sleeplessness started. A stubborn stomach ache and a troubled gut-brain connection kept him from getting the rest he needed. As a result he was unable to eat, experiencing continuous pain and nervousness, and battling bouts of worry. He felt so weak that he had to call in sick, afraid that the quality of his work could suffer. After getting better, he decided to start working again, but with a reduced workload of 50 percent in order to focus on recovery.
Igor noticed that his symptoms were triggered by stress, for example in the wake of work-related challenges or ahead of planned trips. He learned to identify rising worries, and managed to calm himself down proactively. His symptoms eventually disappeared, and once he fully recovered, he was back at his best, privately and professionally.
The Power of Probability
Then the war broke out, and he was back in the rabbit hole. Worries about the people he loved, the ongoing shelling of Ukrainian cities and the suffering around him started to take a toll. So he decided to act. A book he had recently read on how to break the cycle of anxiety, taught him a key lesson:
“If you can’t change something, stop worrying about it, because you will die worrying”
Igor found his inner calm using one additional principle from the book: Probability. By calculating the probability of his house being hit by a rocket he came up with an extremely low number. This result also helped his family put things into perspective and defuse the threat. Igor kept focusing on doing things within his control, such as donating money, supporting the community and using his military experience to interpret current happenings for them.
Creating the Ambiance Mixer
Igor also put his iOS development skills at the service of people struggling with the war. First he translated the Earkick app into Ukrainian language so Ukrainians across the globe could use it in their native language. Then he built the Ambiance Mixer, a feature that allows people to mix music and a variety of natural sounds into the perfect soundtrack for falling asleep easier. Music had proven to be a powerful tool for relaxing and establishing a peaceful space whenever Igor needed a break from the daily grind:
“You can select the sound of fire or rain and it makes you feel like you’re out in nature, near the ocean”
Visualizing beautiful sceneries has helped Igor accept the present and let go of ruminating thoughts. Now he wants to share this relief with people who have been confined to their homes due to Covid and the current war, unable to travel or even go to public places.
Find Rest In Stressful Times
Igor’s best practice for drifting off into a good night’s sleep is as follows:
- Determine the time you usually fall asleep or find out your circadian rhythm with this simple test.
- 15 minutes prior to your bedtime, select the sounds or music, and adjust the volumes in a way that makes you feel calm.
- Set the timer to 15–20 minutes.
- Make sure your bedroom is darkened and cooler than the other rooms of your home.
- Lie down and visualize a place that matches what you hear.
- Relax all parts of your body and dive into the sound.
You can also use the Ambiance Mixer to zone out during the day, taking a break from the hustle and bustle. Igor is happy to receive your feedback and his creativity is limitless. Where others see challenges, he continues to see opportunities.
Ready to start feeling better? Download the Earkick app here.
At Earkick we are building a free anxiety tracker to follow our great mission in order to make the wold a less anxious place.