By now, you’ve seen the social media posts, news coverage, commercials, and lawn signs for the upcoming election. With the widely discussed political climate, it’s hard not to engross yourself in all of it in order to stay informed and involved. Unfortunately, the result can be stress, tension in relationships, anxiety, and fatigue. Politics are important and discussed every year, but in an election year, it’s almost impossible to escape.
With an ongoing news cycle accessible to all at a touch of a button, you might be over-doing it. So how can you determine if you’re experiencing “political anxiety” or fatigue? If you are, how can you cope?
FINDING A BALANCE
The trick to staying informed but not feeling adverse effects is finding the right balance for you. Of course, you probably want to be in the know, and participate in the changes that can affect you and your country. But there are some very clear red flags you may notice if you’re drowning in politics and are negatively impacted!
The balance may be off if:
You’re talking about politics at work or parties.
You’re getting mad or upset while reading/watching the news.
You’re feeling stressed or hopeless after reading/watching the news.
You’re unable to sleep.
You notice other mental or physical health changes (weight gain/loss, high blood pressure, etc.)
Remember, there’s a time and place for political talk. It starts with setting boundaries and sticking to them. Separate your political intake from your job and fun times.
You can get your fill of news updates without allowing the stress to take over!
STAY IN THE KNOW IN A HEALTHY WAY
We’re offering some helpful, actionable ways to take charge of your political news intake and mental health.
Ask yourself: How much time am I spending reading/watching political news?
You don’t need to be spending more than 1-2 hours per day watching or reading the news. If you’re able to tolerate a few hours without feeling the exhaustion, stress or anxiety set in, allow yourself those 2 hours.
Choose news outlets you trust and enjoy, and stick to them.
While it’s important to expose yourself to alternative points of view, exposing yourself to a program or people who disagree with your values is sure to cause stress and anxiety.
Don’t engage in conversation
Between Facebook fighting and dinner table debates, you don’t have to look far for a political conversation. Little good comes from arguing and can be a major contributor to your political fatigue. If you choose to have a conversation, ensure it’s in an appropriate place, and worth the effort.
POLITICS DON’T HAVE TO BE DRAINING
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for bad news, you’re gonna find it. Similarly, if you’re looking to get riled up by people you disagree with, you can make that happen. There are tons of news and political talk out there on the internet, tv, and in everyday life. It’s your job to filter what you allow in and out. For the good of your mental health, be conscious of your expectations and what feelings you get as you read/watch, and how you feel after.
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