Between the current pandemic and the political climate in the United States, stress and anxiety is at an all-time high. In addition, polarization from the upcoming election has created even more stress in the lives of many. For some, 2020 has felt like we are being constantly bombarded with challenges and bracing ourselves for what is to come next. It is a lot to handle. We are finding ourselves overwhelmed and on “overload.” If we do not attend to our experience of stress and anxiety, we may find ourselves becoming easily distracted, experiencing a lack of motivation, worrying about the future, and isolating ourselves from others. Fortunately, there are ways we can cope with and manage our increased levels of stress and anxiety. Counseling Services offers the following recommendations during this pre-election time:
- Set boundaries and reduce media consumption. Social media news feeds are constantly showing stories that pertain to the election, which can increase anxiety. It is important to consume in moderation and allow ourselves a break. Set a time of day that you reserve for checking your social media account.
- Talk to people you can trust about your emotions. Lean on these people for support.
- Avoid arguing with others. Instead of attempting to sway others toward your viewpoint, which can be unproductive and exhausting, channel that energy into encouraging others to vote and share their voices.
- Practice regular self-care. Go for a walk, spend time in nature, practice yoga or other forms of movement, keep a gratitude journal, or do something that is fun for yourself in order to relieve stress. Go to bed early and get rest before the election, as fatigue can also increase symptoms of anxiety.
- Stay with present-moment awareness and avoid attempts at predicting the future. Focus your energy on productive activities such as making phone calls for a campaign, donating to a campaign, volunteering at the polls, and/or voting.
- Use the current climate as an opportunity to contemplate a deeper sense of meaning in your life.
- Seek professional help from Counseling Services if you feel like you are having difficulty managing your stress and anxiety.
Finally, although 2020 has been particularly stressful for many, it is important for us to remind ourselves that we will get through this together. We, as humans, have the capacity for resilience. We have been able to adapt in the face of difficult circumstances and we can continue to support and empower each other.
DePauw Counseling Services Team