Are you worried that today’s election may be impacting your mental health? More than likely it is in some form or fashion. Political elections are polarizing, fear inducing, and emotional times for many. Elections can divide families, elicit extreme emotional responses, and cause excessive amounts of anxiety, anger, hurt, shame, and sadness.
It is important to monitor and manage your mental health during these times. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or a follower of a third party, the following tips can help you better navigate tonight and the following days and months to come.
1. Boundaries with media/social media:
An excess of time watching television or scrolling your Facebook feed is unhealthy and will cause you distress. It is important to stay informed but with limits on how much time and energy you place into the media platforms.
Tip: limit the amount of times you open up your Facebook feed tonight and in the following days. Depending on your current usage, try to reduce your intake through social media. Social media will be filled with hate, negativity, and unhealthy perspectives that are sure to impact your mental health. Try logging on once in the morning and once in the evening, but be sure not to open your Facebook app before you go to sleep (good chance it will elicit negative emotions that will impact your ability to fall asleep). Along the same lines, pick an allotted amount of time that you will watch a news channel. Maybe an hour or less per day and within a predetermined timeframe. Reducing your intake of news will not impact your ability to stay informed, but instead help you avoid the negative banter, critiques, and slander of others.
2. Boundaries with people in your life:
Having a quality support system during this time will be vital. However, it is important to remember that even people that you love may not have the same political views. Therefore, be mindful of how interactions may affect your emotional state and behaviors. Make sure to have a friend or two that you can confide in and talk to about issues that may be upsetting or exciting for you.
Make sure to spend an ample amount of time caring for yourself and loving yourself. Be diligent in how you manage your free time and time away from the election. Commit to engaging in distraction techniques. For example, read a book, play a game, go for a walk, color, clean the house, do yard work, play with your children, etc. Do your best to cope with the stressors by matching the coping skill with the emotion you are experiencing. If you are feeling angry, upset, frustrated, then maybe try to engage in physical exercise. If you are anxious and overcome with worry, then try to read a book or engage in busy work. Most importantly, remain mindful of how you are feeling and be diligent with taking care of yourself with love and kindness.
4. Be aware of what you can and cannot control:
Remember what you can and cannot control and approach situations accordingly. Regardless of the outcome, we cannot control other people and their actions. We can control our actions and our approach to any situation. We can learn to manage our emotions and how we proceed. You cannot control voter fraud, concession, social media, news outlets, others opinions, etc. We can work to understand why we feel strongly in one way or another and we can work to address those emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a healthy manner. Remember, if your find yourself overwhelmed, use your self-care and self-love techniques to manage the situation.
Tonight and the following weeks will be trying for our country and our own mental health. Vitalize Behavioral Health and Psychometrics employs CA licensed Psychologists who are ready to help you through these times. In a time where love, empathy, understanding, care, and compassion are direly needed, we are here to help. If the election is negatively impacting you, your relationships, or your ability to manage please call or email today.