The combination of civil unrest, racial inequality, the global pandemic, and the presidential election have contributed to a drastically different environment that may be overwhelming for many individuals. As we approach the end of November 2020, the most recent and prominent event of this time has been the United States presidential election. Regardless of your political affiliation, elections can be very stress-inducing triggers, sometimes causing divides between family and friends and a struggle to fight for your beliefs and values. Thus, it is vital to be mindful of our experiences and to practice self-care during an unstable period of the year. The following are a few suggestions to honor your mental health:

1. Setting Boundaries

Political conversations can be intense and overwhelming for many people. If a conversation involving political views or topics becomes uncomfortable for you, it is important to realize that it is okay to leave or end the conversation at this time. Setting boundaries, such as saying, “I would rather not talk about politics at this time,” would help avoid this type of stressful situation. On the other hand, it is also beneficial to remember that everyone has their own unique experiences that shape their political views, so it is important to consider and hear others’ perspectives with respect.

2. Monitoring Political Media Exposure

It is easy to become immersed in social media, news outlets, rallies, protests, and other political facets, as it is everywhere and seemingly inescapable. It can be taxing on our mental health. You do have more control over your exposure than you may realize. You can start being conscious and aware of how much time and effort you’re spending daily on election-related material. For example, some smartphones have a feature that allows you to view how much time you spend on various apps on your device. Using this feature, you may be able to get an idea of how much time you are spending on political content. Once you are more conscious of your exposure, you can step away when you feel “overloaded.”

3. Mindfulness Meditation

Another helpful way to restore your sense of peace is through mindfulness meditation, which helps individuals focus on the present moment. Many useful apps guide users through various meditation exercises. These applications include Headspace, Aura, and Calm. In acknowledgment of the stress that has arisen this past year, Headspace is free for Los Angeles county residents. You also have the option to search for mindfulness passages on the internet that you can read to yourself, or have someone else read to you.

4. Exercise

Exercise can be an effective way to boost mental and physical health as exercise releases endorphins, which plays a role in regulating mood. A simple walk or jog around the neighborhood while social distancing can make a difference in stress levels and overall well being. There are also in-home exercise apps that you can utilize for more intense exercise during the pandemic. A few of these include SworkIt, FitOn, and Aaptiv. Exercise can take your mind off of stressors and leave you feeling more motivated and relaxed to continue your day.

5. Seeking Professional Help

Though self-care tips can go a long way, sometimes individuals may need extra support to help them through hard times. Seek help from a mental health professional if your negative mental state becomes persistent or unstable. Therapists and psychiatrists can be significant proponents of positive change.

As intense and emotional as recent times have been, it is important to remember to care for yourself during these times. Hopefully, these five tips will be advantageous to your self-care routine for your mental health.

Leave a Comment