This year has been an emotionally intense, sometimes scary, and often overwhelming experience for many of us. While the reasons for this are plenty, we can add politics to the list. Being politically aware, engaged, and paying attention to the media are of top priority for a large part of the United States and some even see being politically active as their moral imperative. But, when does it all become too much for us to handle?
HAS THE ELECTION LEFT YOU FEELING DRAINED, DEPLETED, AND TAKEN A TOLL ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
It’s important, especially in a year like this that we don’t get too caught up in the political hype, but truly understand where we stand when it comes to policy. This year where we are under heightened mental and health stress from COVID19; people have lost their jobs due to economic changes; our education system continues to change; our accessibility to healthcare has changed; and there is a great racial divide. If you find yourself passionate about these issues, it is important that you understand the policies behind them, especially if you choose to vote. Are you engaged for the right reasons? Or are you just being emotionally pulled or torn between Red and Blue and feeling the stress of making a decision?
SELF CHECK IN:
Are you paying attention to how are you emotionally and physically feeling during pre and post-election. Is your blood pressure increasing, experiencing more frequent headaches, or do you have an upset stomach? These could be signs that it’s time to take a step back from politics or reconsider how you’re receiving the political information. What boundaries are you willing to make to control your potentially enormous consumption of political information? Time limits? Phone notifications? Followers and followings?
SETTING BOUNDARIES & CONTROLLING THE FLOW OF INFORMATION:
Many people in the United States are getting their political information, misinformation, and disinformation via their cell phone. Friends, social media algorithms, and apps can all have a significant impact on the information you receive and how you feel about it. One way to set a boundary for yourself is by changing the notification settings on your cellphone to control the alerts you receive from news apps and social media. You can also clean up your friend’s list within your various social media accounts. Ask yourself if these connections are really friends? Or, are they people creating unnecessary noise in your life? When reading the social posts, keep in mind that there are algorithms within our social media accounts that determine what, how and when you see certain posts and ads. Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix to learn more about the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms.
One way you can get controlled and less intrusive information is through reliable apps like Breakdown Incorporated. Breakdown Incorporated lets you choose what issues you are passionate about and then gives you the information about policies and upcoming bills related to your interests. Using an app like this allows you to get unbiased information and feel empowered and heard by allowing you to directly email your representative about the issues you care about.
HANDLING UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS:
Most of us have been engaged in, willingly or not, in political conversations and it can often feel like you are always in the defense and your opinion. But, there are ways to handle these uncomfortable conversations and manage your emotions. Be upfront that you choose not to share who you vote for. Try saying “I am private about who I vote for, but choose candidates that align with the policies I believe in. I’m happy to talk about the policies and bills that you are passionate about.” You will find that the conversation turns from a Red and Blue conversation, to a policy conversation. This will help minimize the emotions and anxiety that often come with political conversations. Keep in mind during these conversation to respect others values and that we all have the right to talk, or remain private, about politics.
We also all have the right to choose to vote. This is a beautiful part of our nation’s democracy. It is okay if you’re not ready to vote because you don’t feel like you understand how our branches of government work or you feel uninformed. You may also feel like there is a candidate that you can’t get behind and support. Try not to get anxious or feel guilty for not voting. It is your right to choose if voting is right for you.
MINIMIZE STRESS THROUGH EDUCATION:
The best thing you can do to minimize the stress of the upcoming election is to educate yourself! The more you understand about the power of our president and the relationship between the executive, judicial and legislative branches, the more comfortable you will be in making your decisions on election day.
- For more information about the various branches visit USA.gov.
- For a better understanding of Indiana’s government visit Indiana.gov.
- For political and governmental information about Indianapolis, visit Indy.gov.
Another easy way to get information is by going to each candidate’s website. Then do a side by side comparison of the topics and policies you care most about and determine who is the best fit candidate for your vote!
We all have the tools we need to take care of ourselves and it’s important to use them so we stay healthy and maintain our mental health. It’s okay if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to take a step back during, or after the election. It’s also okay if you need to reach out for professional help.
Call 317-634-6341 to learn how Families First can help you find a path toward solutions and healing.