As the uncertainty of the 2020 election continues, the absence of control and certainty might be kicking your anxiety and stress into overdrive.
Here are some quick reminders for how to manage anxiety and depression, prioritize moderation, and cling to self-care.
Tips for managing anxiety, depression, and tough conversations:
- Shy away from black-and-white thinking … look for opportunities for “both/and” thinking rather than “either/or, black-or-white” thinking (ex: “my friend/family member/neighbor, etc. has an opposite political view than me and I can still have a relationship with them … and my relationship with them doesn’t make me complicit in their views/their vote, etc.)
- Return to self-care basics today:
- get outside; sunshine directly increases dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter.
- be intentional about your media and social media consumption.
- stay present…these grounding techniques can help, and I’m pasting the usual ones I share with clients below.
- focus on what is in your control
- Try a guided meditation – Calm app is my favorite, and headspace is another favorite
- Try some of these mental health apps, which put coping skills right at your finger tips
- Expect Difficult conversations…
- Respond rather than React: think about ways you can take care of yourself in these conversations by responding in a way that you’ll feel good about later, rather than reacting in a way you might regret later
- Set Boundaries … share what’s okay, what’s not okay and why (i.e. ‘It’s okay to ask why I voted this way, but it’s not okay to insult me because it damages our relationship and we both don’t want that)
- Assumption of Similarity … if you find yourself attributing a positive trait to yourself, try to see some of that trait in the person you’re talking to. If you find yourself attributing a negative trait to this person, try to see some of that trait in yourself as well.
As we wait for results, below are a few resources that might help:
- 50 ways to survive Election Day (and night/week)
- if inspirational quotes are your thing, here are a few that might offer hope
- if retail therapy is your weakness, this Art of Post-Election Wellness might interest you in the event you want to moderately invest in a wellness item
- this article shares a number of museums offering post-election wellness events to help in-person visitors and online followers find some mental and emotional relief.
- Check out Ten Percent Happier’s 2020 Election Sanity Guide
- Emotion Regulation Tips
- 9 Therapist-Approved Tips for Reframing Your Existential Anxiety
The Grounding Techniques I share with all clients:
Grounding techniques focusing on the MIND (aka cognitive) AWARENESS:
- Comforting self-talk, e.g., “That was then, this is now.”
- Directed imagination (Safe Place, Visual Container)
- Remind yourself of who you are now (state your name, age, where you are, etc.)
- Identify cognitive distortions and challenge them (I’ve attached two handouts on cognitive distortions)
- Imagine a STOP sign in your head
- 5 Senses Exercise (name something you can see, hear, feel, touch, and taste in the room)
- Immerse hands in cold/cool water
- Blow forcefully through straw
- Connect with nature – get outside, feel the grass under your feet
- Gently clench and release
- Hold something you find comforting
- Take a sea salt bath
- Smell a “safe” scent (essential oils, candle, etc.)
- Humming breath
- Blowfish breath
- Balloon breath
- 4-7-8 Breath
- Square breath
- Use a SmartPhone app, e.g, Breathe2Relax, Calm
- Blow a Pinwheel, Blow a Candle, Blow Bubbles
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
EMDR-based apps for Anxiety and Sleep:
These apps use bilateral stimulation (which is used in EMDR) and therefore require using headphones for them to be effective: