No matter what your political views are chances are pretty good that this most recent election season has left you burnt out and pretty stressed to say the least. While many are choosing to no longer pay attention to the news anymore, others feel it most important to stay informed perhaps now more than ever. But this puts them in a bit of a dilemma because it’s getting pretty hard to pay attention to the news these days without it negatively affecting your mental and emotional health. Here are a few tips on how to stay informed without getting too burnt out:
- Self Care: First and foremost now more than ever you really need to be vigilant about your self care practices. I suggest planning ahead for this at the beginning of your week to carve out time in your schedule for the things that help you recharge your batteries. Whatever you do for self care (yoga, exercise, hiking, meditation, concerts, etc.) I highly recommend mixing it up so you aren’t doing the same thing every day. There is nothing so grating as being at the gym just because you feel like you ought to be working out. Plan to get some exercise a few days a week, schedule a night out with friends, go to the movies, garden, etc. Whatever helps you recharge the batteries.
- Structure your time following the news: Rather than wasting hours upon hours watching the news or scrolling through social media, give yourself a modest chunk of time everyday to get caught up on the media sources you follow and not a minute longer. I would HIGHLY recommend not having this time be right before bed because:
- Getting quality sleep is crucial: There are studies up studies that show how crucial it is to get quality sleep for every aspect of your well being. The last thing you need is to risk getting yourself all worked up right before bed. Instead read a book you’ve been meaning to get into, do some yoga, meditate, take a hot bath,etc. No news.
- Join a support group for political anxiety and stress: Since the election I’ve heard from a bunch of therapists in the SF Bay Area that are offering these. I recently decided to start one in my practice if you should be interested. This will give you a space to have intimate conversations with others outside of your current circle who are feeling the same way as you are.
- Get Involved: Perhaps the most aggravating part for most people is that they are hearing and reading all of these horribly negative things in the news these days, and they feel like they can’t do anything about it. Even though the SF Bay Area and California is in a bubble there are literally dozens of local organizations filled with people who want to stop complaining about the world and start doing something about it. If you do a bit of research you may feel quickly overwhelmed by all the options. Rather than spreading yourself thin and trying to get involved in every thing possible, pick 1-2 things that work with your schedule, skills, and passion. Believe me … plenty of people are wanting to get more involved at this point that there’s enough for everyone. While donating to an organization or two is helpful, it will make you feel better to actually engage with the cause on a more personal level with your time.