A Health and Wellness Post from our guest columnist, Dr. Robert Oliva
Your anxiety has been growing since election night. Twitter and Facebook are your constant companions. Phone calls and Zoom sessions are tirades about why in God’s name did people vote for the other side.
You haven’t been sleeping. Your stomach feels upset. Snacking has become compulsive while you stare at the TV watching endless election analysis. Uncertainty abounds. And the recounts are still to come!
It’s not surprising you feel like a zombie. How could you not feel helpless, anxious, in a rage, and overwhelmed.
So, what can you do to survive this marathon of stress?
Take Time for Self-care Tips
First, it’s important to recognize that it’s normal to feel the way you do. This election period has been prolonged, contentious, and unpredictable. And it will continue. You’re not crazy.
Second, there are practical things you can do to care for yourself. Intentionality is the key:
- Minimize social media postings and entanglements
- Don’t indulge in doomscrolling
- Be mindful of food and alcohol binges
- Be sure to get sufficient sleep. Create a sleep environment
- Eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables
- Create strong boundaries and time limits around political discussions
- Keep a regular exercise routine
- Get out in nature for a walk and sunshine
- Set limits on how much political news you watch or listen to
- Learn relaxation techniques and yoga postures
- Meditate and do breathing exercises regularly
- Participate in activities you really like and bring you joy
- Stay socially connected with like-minded friends and family
- Get creative, write poetry, keep a journal, tinker with the car…
- Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you feel unduly anxious and depressed.
Third, take advantage of helpful apps and websites:
- Headspace is offering articles on how meditation can help with election anxiety, along with a free audio meditation on political uncertainty
- Look into these popular apps designed to help with election stress· The APA offers guidance on managing election stress, as well as a short video
- Health.com is offering articles on election stress and election stress disorder
- Sivana East has a good article on yin yoga postures and breathing techniques to calm your nervous system
- Take some time to read the HBR Self-Care Guide to Help You Through Election Day.
Fourth, self-care and intentionality are essential to getting through these unsettled times. Find the things, activities, and people that keep you grounded. Above all, nurture a balanced view of the current situation that helps you deal with potential disappointment and fosters continued involvement in meaningful activities. If you do this, you will be ready to deal with whatever comes next.