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How To Manage Your Stress In The Post-Political Chaos

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Many people have formed unhealthy habits during an election season fraught with uncertainties on top of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s sickened and killed many people around the world. If you are experiencing any of the following, they can take a toll on your overall well-being:

  • Higher blood pressure
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Anxiety
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Sleep issues

Now that the year is almost over, this is a time to look ahead, calm yourself and avoid more stress from the news and current events. Here are tips for dealing with news overload and political stressors for the rest of this year and beyond.

Be mindful of your political news consumption

Do you scroll through your social media feeds first thing in the morning? Is your TV turned onto the news all the time? Your time reading and watching political content should be quality time. Think of how you feel as you read and watch the news.

At any time of the day, “news anxiety” can keep you on edge and interfere with your sleep. Create a media schedule to watch the news. Determine the times of day you consume the news. Find out which channels you no longer should read and watch if it leaves you nervous or sad. Limit your news consumption to a few credible primary sources, including news agencies. This limits the exposure time and helps you to concentrate on what matters most.

Be aware of your audience

One would think this time of the year would be ideal to have an informative, balanced discussion about current affairs. However, be mindful that the other person may be attempting to restrict the amount of political news, even those who are like-minded and politically active. Young children may not understand the stressful political climate.

Instead, take the time to speak to others who can stay calm and seek to be a voice of consistency and reason. Reach out to people who are living alone or feeling socially alienated and are more vulnerable to feelings of desolation. Help children cope with the current political climate and news about the pandemic by chatting about other topics, such as skills they want to learn outside of school or how their friends and classmates are handling their lives at home.

Respect each other’s differences

If a friend or family member brings up politics, there could be reasons they feel the way they do. A triggering topic can instead be an educational opportunity. If there’s something you’re not comfortable with, ask questions about it and where they heard it from.

Healthy, constructive debates will give someone an appreciation of the “other side” provided there’s enough information and mutual understanding. Knowing any differences of opinion can help you plan for tough discussions. If a discussion becomes heated, excusing yourself politely without having to resort to snide remarks or parting statements is potentially the right thing to do at the moment.

Decide whether you wish to be more politically active

Fight stress with empowerment. Evaluate which causes resonate with you the most, which channels you read and watch your news, and how you feel about them. Make sure you want to be politically active for the right reasons, not because it’s everywhere on social media.

Being politically active doesn’t just mean attending every demonstration and speaking in front of crowds. If you want to continue to be politically active, find safe ways that support your cause:

  • Donate to a local nonprofit that matches your values
  • Shop at brands that will donate any proceeds to nonprofits
  • Search for online volunteer opportunities
  • Share information and guidance about your advocacy for your cause

Whichever you choose to do to support your cause, stay true to yourself. Everybody can make a difference for themselves and their loved ones.

Create moments of peace for yourself

As this tumultuous year winds down, it’s understandable that many people want a break. Some people need to connect with friends and family, and others want to spend some time alone. We are all unique in how we care for ourselves.

If you’re not in the mood to exercise one day, then choose to bake a decadent dessert, watch a favorite movie, or catch up with an old friend over the phone or a video call. Give yourself the authority that you know best how to take care of yourself. When we rest, we boost our resilience and eliminate sources of noise and over-stimulation.

Caring for your body and mind through active, healthy, and productive methods is the best way to get through these challenging times. Keep in mind that while you can’t control the actions and behaviors of those around you, you can control your own. If you feel more anxious or worried than usual, reach out to Wake Counseling and Mediation for anxiety treatment options.

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