BEYOND EMOTIONAL WARFARE
Since the election last November, many of my clients have expressed increased feelings of anxiety and/or depression related to the current political climate. Even those in favor of the current administration have found themselves impacted by the combative state of our country through conversations or interactions with friends and family of opposing beliefs. No matter how you slice it, the politics of our country can be detrimental to our well being. Instead of internalizing everything that's happening, or ending up feeling desensitized, I want to share some things you can do right now to cope and stay healthy during these challenging times.
Limit the time you spend on social media, reading the news, and watching television. It is quite easy to feel overwhelmed, sad, and anxious, after spending significant amounts of time scrolling through twitter and instagram. We are constantly bombarded with breaking news about everything that seems to be going wrong. This will only work to make you forget about everything that is going right in the world and in your own life. If you have difficulty adhering to your own time limits, download an app that will do it for you like rescue time.
FOCUS ON AREAS OF CONCERN:
Keeping the above in mind, we know that It is still important to stay active and informed about issues that impact our local and national communities as well as those across the world. Finding balance is key. Don’t put your head in the sand but also don’t allow yourself to think catastrophically about every issue that pops up in your news feed. Focus instead on two or three issues about which you care deeply. This will work to help you be effective with your time and more likely to work towards significant change. Avoid getting into negative conversations on digital platforms or other forums. These are often unproductive and can drain potentially useful energy you could instead channel towards advocacy for real change!
FIND KINDRED SPIRITS:
It is difficult to feel alone, invalidated, and misunderstood by peers or family members. Make efforts to find like-minded people that share some of your beliefs and values. It will be helpful to share ideas, experiences, and feelings about the issues that are impacting you during this time. It always feels better when you recognize that you’re not alone and have a group of people that support you.
Don’t get swept up and enveloped by external issues to the point where you neglect your own self care. Work on improving yourself and channel your energy inward. Make sure you are eating healthy, drinking enough water, and exercising sufficiently (going for regular walks counts!). Remember there's no perfect way to do self care, just make sure you're taking care of you. If you are struggling managing your feelings of worry or sadness, do not hesitate and reach out to a mental health professional for additional support.