Looking After Your Mental Health at Times of Political Uncertainty and Change
Political fallout can take its toll on the lives of individuals on a deeply personal level. With the pending Brexit changes, no one knows this better than the divided people of the UK and the EU.
Major political changes can be unnerving, particularly when it impacts so many aspects of life as we know it.
Why Political Unrest Harms Us
Politics may seem like a distant, nebulous process for the average person until it hits close to home. When the political landscape becomes hostile and people begin to experience the real consequences of governmental decision-making, politics become personal.
Policies and legislation can and do impact our lives. Political uncertainty can impact our governing body, tax expense, representation within the system, and even our sense of belonging and identity.
We live our day to day lives with a certain expectation of stability. One of the basic elements of that stability is a foundation of safety. When political uncertainty becomes a reality, that basic sense of safety and certainty crumbles.
Without even consciously realising it, we rely on those larger political systems as we navigate our lives.
Coping With Political Upheaval
Political changes can bring a great deal of distress, anxiety and frustration. Try some of these ideas to decompress and stay grounded during the difficult moments.
Prioritise and plan:
If you are feeling compelled to get involved in political advocacy, be sure to prioritise the topics you are most passionate about to conserve your energy.
What issue is most pressing according to your value system? Make a plan to join an activist committee to advocate for change in that particular area, and then step back on topics that don’t resonate as much.
You are one person and your voice is important, but in order to have longevity in the fight, you need to select the areas that are most meaningful to you.
Recognise your overload signs:
Political turmoil and the stress of disheveled governing bodies can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Recognize the stress signs that your mind and body give you.
Are you dwelling on the potential outcomes of political unrest? Have you noticed your sleep is being impacted? Is your digestive process suffering? Listen to what your mind and body are asking for.
Take a break from multimedia news for a few days:
If you are overloaded by stress, make it a point to disconnect from the source of the stress for a while. Political upheaval is widely covered by local and national news. Give yourself permission to look away.
Get back to the basics with your health and be sure to eat healthy foods, get plenty of exercise and rest. Shift your focus to individual self-care for a pre-set amount of time so that you don’t revert to dwelling on the political circumstances.
This reset can help as you reach for a more balanced lifestyle. After a few days, when you do return to the political coverage, choose certain news programmes to watch. Be selective. Shut it off after a designated amount of time.
Use grounding techniques frequently:
Mindfulness techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and abdominal breathing are useful strategies that can be implemented anywhere. These simple techniques work well for reconnecting and grounding during stressful times.
When coping with political changes, it is important to focus on what you can control. Advocate in the areas that you feel especially passionate about. Take care of yourself in mind, body and spirit.
And remember – if you need to talk to someone, please reach out and do so.
[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website www.livingwithfinesse.com]