We can all be honest by saying 2020 has been a doozy of a year. The 2020 Election cycle is no exception. It has only added to the extraordinary nature of this time. The season designated to select our leadership has unleashed difficult emotions that maybe challenging for many Americans to handle. It is also compounded by the unrest that we have seen around the world and in our communities, the outbreak of natural disasters and the unparalleled challenges and adjustments that we have come to know during a global pandemic.
As millions of Americans watch the pending results of this year’s Presidential race, one thing that can be agreed upon by all—is that this moment is stressful and no matter what side of that aisle you fall—people are using one word to describe their feelings and that word is—exhausting.
This collective sense of exhaustion is affecting people both emotionally and mentally. The uncertainty of this time has many people searching for a timeout or some sense of solace to overcome the feelings of fear, anxiety and “exhaustion” that may come with this moment.
At Revolutionary Change Counseling, we have cultivated some healthy ways to address stress around the 2020 Election that we hope will help.
First, give yourself permission to unplug
The Problem: It is hard to ignore the constant barrage of tweets, texts, DM’s, posts, emails, lives, TV alerts, phone calls, bulletin board messages and flyers that we experience every day. The election season makes it difficult to overlook conversations that we may encounter. It is hard to ignore the chatter but give yourself permission to take a step back and disconnect from everything that seeks to grab your attention or can potentially harm your mental health and well-being.
Suggested Solution: You can disconnect by turning off notifications for your social media applications, also change the channel, watch a show, movie or listen to an audio book that will bring you frivolous joy, laughter or simple serenity. Set boundaries and do your best to effectively communicate those boundaries to those you love and respect. It’s essential to understand the difference between being well-informed and over-saturated. Though you may feel the need to be in the know, it’s more important to be in the now of what you need and not contribute to further distress.
Redirect Your Energy
The Problem: Many people are feeling their anxiety levels rise. They may experience feelings of nervous or anxious energy. Now is a great time to redirect those feelings toward relaxation, something that needs your attention or becoming more productive.
Suggested Solutions: Get moving and use some of that anxious energy to incorporate more physical activity into your life. Try kickboxing, running, cycling, walking, swimming or High-Intensity-Interval Training (HITT). If you need a low-impact alternative try yoga, Pilates or dancing. They all can give a great workout and are effective at reducing stress and anxiety.
If your mind is still wound up after a workout, engage your creativity by using coloring books, painting a picture, scrap-booking with your family, sewing with a friend or sneaking away by yourself to journal. You can also use this time to organize your space or do some deep cleaning. These activities will help you guide anxious energy into a space of productivity. Often when we are experiencing excessive anxiousness or stress, we also feel helpless, powerless, or unaccomplished. Participating in creative and productive activities can allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment which reduces anxiousness.
Remember, you have the power to reframe the experience of stress and anxiety in your life. Activities that allow you to release anxious energy will help you gain control, feel grounded, and find calm.
Finally, Allow Yourself to Feel
Though it’s helpful to engage in healthy distractions that give your mind, spirit, and body a rest, it’s essential to also allow yourself to sit with your thoughts and emotions. If you feel the need to cry, give yourself permission to shed those tears. If you need to sit in silence, give yourself permission to be still. You are valid in your feelings. This election is connected to many life-altering issues that are currently impacting our country, community, and world. It is normal to feel anxious, scared, angry, overwhelmed, and uncertain. It’s okay to not be okay.
Our team at Revolutionary Change Counseling understands the negative impact the stress of the election can have on children, families, and individuals emotionally and mentally. We want you to know that you don’t have to suffer with this stress alone. Our trauma-informed team is on standby to support you and your family during this time. Please call us at (813) 331-7673 for counseling services for individuals, couples, families and children. We are located in Apollo Beach and we service the Riverview, Brandon, Ruskin, Sun City, Seffner, Gibsonton and Bradenton Area.