How to Stay Sane During this Election – Blog 10/29/16

That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. I HAVE to write a blog about this election. Luckily, contrary to most stuff posted about the election these days, it won’t be to slander. It will be to support…you.

An interesting part of my job is that, often, based on the presenting issues my clients bring into our meetings, the current events within our society are reflected. And, there have been too many people, particularly women, coming in and expressing higher levels of anxiety, anger, and atmospheres of victimization for me to not respond to the effects this election has had on people’s mental health. You are not alone. But, you do need to keep your sanity.

often joke that “Every generation thinks the world is going to pot” or that “This will be the end of society as we know it”. I also find this to be the case for every election. Members from all sides feel that “Our country is going to go to pot if _______ gets elected. I don’t know if we can come back after that”. But, guess what? The world hasn’t ended and, after each “horrible” candidate that has been elected to office, our country is still standing.

However, there seems to be a different energy to this election for a lot of people, including myself and those active in the political arenas. Simply Google “2016 Presidential Election” and “Mental Health” and you will find many articles citing how this election has been something particularly potent. So, despite the drama of this election, how can we stay sane during this election?

 

kalamazoo-counseling-how-to-stay-sane-this-election-1kalamazoo-counseling-how-to-stay-sane-this-election-2To all of my Liberian friends out there, you will notice the absence of Gary Johnson here. I am respecting his admission recently about how it would be a “long shot” for him to win the presidency. So, I will keep it simple and include only the Republican and Democratic nominees. I hope you can forgive me for this. 🙂

1) Even though I risk sounding like a Public Service Announcement, the biggest thing that we can do to help keep our sanity during an election is to vote. Educate yourself about who supports the policies and values that you, yourself, have. And, take a step to do what you can as someone living in America – use your voice to vote! Not only can this help you feel more goal-directed in making your voice heard to elect the candidate you support but, if things don’t turn out as you would like, you can remind yourself that you did what you could to try and make the result different.

2) Perhaps more importantly, know when enough is enough. One theme I have noticed recently is “election fatigue”. People are tired of hearing about the scandals, the slander, and the arguments glorified by the media. So, stay informed but check in with your body. Every time you start talking with someone about the election, when you watch the news, or when you listen to political radio, what happens in your body?

Do you get a tight chest, shortened breath, an increase in body temperature, or feel sick to your stomach? If so, your body is trying to tell you something. The reality is that we could gorge ourselves on political information and updates until the end of eternity. So, know when to stop. Is there anything you could find out that would completely change your mind on which candidate you are voting for? If not, consider giving yourself space until you lock in your vote on Election Day.

3) Take care for yourself. Particularly for women and minorities, there are a lot of hurtful attitudes being verbalized present this election. The issues discussed by both candidates are very personal. And, the implications of how we treat each other as human beings are connecting to discrimination or oppression that has been felt for decades.

Therefore, ground yourself in your worth. Spend time with other like-minded people who don’t make you feel so crazy and who value you for who you are. Take a walk and enjoy the crisp Fall air. Take a bubble bath. Or, get involved in advocacy work so that you can battle the messages of discrimination rampant during this election. Do what you need to do to refresh and remind yourself of your value.

Tuesday, November 8th is almost here. Begin the countdown. In the meantime, I hope these words provide some survival tips for keeping your sanity.

~Ashley Carter Youngblood, LMSW, LMFT, CADC, ADS

kalamazoo-counseling-ashley-carter-youngblood2Ashley Carter Youngblood is both a fully-licensed Clinical Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist who has been in the field since 2007. She offers counseling in Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan, Battle Creek, Paw Paw, and the surrounding areas of Southwest Michigan. She is passionate about her work with clients, whether it’s providing individual counseling, couples counseling, family therapy, or life coaching. Her specialties include holistic healing/mindfulness, counseling for women, anxiety, couples counseling, and addictions/substance abuse.

I welcome you to contact me or leave any questions or feedback you have about this post. Please keep in mind that the above information is the opinion of an individual, should not be considered medical advice, and is for entertainment/educational purposes only. I write these blogs as an expression of my passion for wellness and with the hope to be able to help as many people as possible. Therefore, I would encourage anyone seeking mental health advice to contact a therapist in your area who can better evaluate your situation and provide you with case-specific information for treatment. Also remember, if you are experiencing an emergency, contact 911 or present yourself to your nearest emergency room.

Thanks for reading.

 

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