Mental Health in a Tumultuous Political Climate
Now more than ever, the country is politically divided, and issues within the political realm may have a serious effect on your mental health. Still, there is a pull for many people to stay engaged and to continue with work around advocacy and change in the final run-up to the election on November 3. Here are some tips on maintaining your mental health in the midst of a tumultuous political climate:
Take break from news and current events: With the 24-hour news cycle, we are inundated with stories about conflict, division, and deceit. Constantly engaging with these outlets can lead to emotional burnout. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with the news day in and day out, that might signal that it’s time for a break. Make sure not just to unplug from major media sources but also from social media accounts that trigger depression or anxiety. Watch some funny animal videos as an alternative.
Set boundaries around politics in relationships: Your political views can be as private or as public as you would like them to be. You are not responsible for justifying or explaining your views to anybody. If you find yourself in a conflict around political beliefs, you have every right to set a boundary and refuse to discuss further. Respectfully declining to participate in tense conversations can protect your emotions and your relationships.
Talk it out in safe spaces: If you find that the political climate is affecting your mental health or overall sense of safety, find spaces where you feel comfortable processing that. It may be with trusted friends, a community advocacy group, or in therapy.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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