Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Steps To Protect Your Mental Health In Today's Political Climate

Everyone knows we have a new President.

Now, whether or not you're a fan of his, you're bound to find yourself wrapped up in so much political discussion pretty much every-freaking-where you look.

Social media? Yes.

Turn on the television? Yep.

Online news sources? Mmmmn-hmmmn.

So. What to do to protect yourself from all of this exposure, coverage and chatter?

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Take these steps. They won't guarantee you clarity, peace of mind, or give you all the answers, but they will help you find some quiet and give you moments of thoughts that are less rushed, less stressed and just, simply, less.

5 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health 

1. Take a Social Media Break.

I know. It seems pretty impossible. In this day and age most of us live on social media. Many of us work there, making time away from it even more difficult to find. Walking away from it isn't easy. But self-care is important. So take some time. Carve out a few hours every day and ensure that you're not permitting yourself access to FB or Twitter. Remove the apps from your phone. You can shelve the impulse to log on that way. If only for a little while. You can go on when you make the conscious decision to do so, and avoid that knee-jerk reaction of clicking the app once you swipe to unlock your phone. Do it. Preserve your sanity and walk away.

2. Unfollow.

Use the unfollow feature freely. You may not want to drop your friends because - well - disagreement or not - they're still your friends. I get it. I do. So. Unfollow. Or hide them. Turn them into acquaintances. You know you can do that on FB? And if it's Twitter that's getting to you? Unfollow them there freely. You don't need to see 900 tweets a day telling you you're wrong, or touting political nonsense that stresses you out. Truth or otherwise. You don't need that in your life. Take ownership of your online environment. Do it today. 

3. Change The Channel.

There are SO MANY news channels out there. FOX News. MSNBC. CNN. Even our regular channels are showing interviews and news shows above and beyond the old 6pm and 11pm hours. Politics. Reporters. Press conferences. The news is inescapable. But you can remove it from your line of sight and ensure you're out of earshot. You can change the damned channel, so do it. If the TV is usually on in your house as background noise? Watch your favorite soap opera. Watch your favorite shows in syndication. Find an episode of pretty much anything and sit through it. Or take the best possible step. Turn it off. 

4. Open a Book.

I'm an avid reader. I live off of books. I'm rarely without one and have them in pretty much every room of my house. Crack open a book and escape into someone else's world for a bit. Find a story you can't put down. Look for an inspirational read that reminds you there's so much to our world and ourselves than what we hear from others. Find out what you need and take hold. Turn page after page until you find yourself feeling better. And then? Keep reading. It's a great escape and we all need that now and then.

5. Get Your Body Moving. 

Take a walk. Indoors. Outdoors. Wherever you can - do it. Turn on your favorite music and go. Get your body moving. I've been slacking in this area and I can feel the hold it has on me. Cold outside? Hit the treadmill or go to the gym. Take advantage of that membership you've been paying for (cough, cough). Take a stroll around your neighborhood. Let that fresh air, cold or otherwise, sink into your soul. Take some deep breaths. Do it. Get going. You'll feel so much better once you do.

Remember To Put Yourself First

These five steps aren't guarantees to ensure that you feel better, and they're not encouraging you to live in a bubble - despite the desire to do so every now and then - what they are are ways to remove yourself from the stresses of this current political climate and ways to ensure that you permit yourself to take a deep breath and move forward with things that don't cause extra stress on you.

I'm not encouraging you to live in ignorance. I'm not asking you to pretend that nothing is happening, or that none of what is happening applies to you. I'm just reminding you to take care of yourself.

It's important. You need to do this. For your family. Your children. Your job. And most of all, for you. Your mental health depends on your ability to compartmentalize and recognize there is good in the every day.

Remember that if you need someone to talk to and are struggling you can reach out.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. 

You do not have to be contemplating suicide or considering hurting yourself to reach out to them. Call them if you need to talk. Call them if things are too overwhelming and you don't know what is going to happen next. Call them if you're terrified and alone. Just call them. Please. Reach out to a loved one. Don't go through this alone. You're not alone. People are out there, ready to listen. People who love you. People who care. Please make the call. 

1 comment:

  1. I love you. I love this list. I'm certainly not living in ignorance since deleting the FB app from my phone last week and living without cable -- it's impossible to escape what's going on! But small doses of controlled news is NECESSARY for my mental health. It's been one LOOOOONG week. This is a marathon. We have to learn how to maintain sanity in this world.

    One thing I'd add to this list would be -- take a bath and listen to a podcast. If you have an iPhone, the Podcast app is already on your phone and they are FREE. Many are SUPER funny and great escapes. There are celebrity podcasts... and even local podcasts to enjoy. Something for everyone. I've been into Anna Faris is Unqualified -- but I also dove into "Here's the Thing w/Alec Baldwin" this week. He interviews fantastic old school celebs like Carol Burnett and Debbie Reynolds.

    (Thanks for bearing with my long winded comment! But thanks more for this post) xo


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