I’ve been noticing that all around me things are a little “off”. People are snippy and agitated; tired and unable to focus. Drivers are driving like jerks. I know I live in a major city but people seem to be making even less eye contact with each other on the street. We’re in a collective fog.
It’s been a whirlwind week with nonstop STUFF from the inauguration to the Women’s March to newsfeeds we can't keep up with. No matter what side you’re on, you’re likely experiencing Breaking News-itis, an overdose of all sorts of media, a strain in some friend and family relationships if you’re talking about current events, and likely some kind of reaction over the unknown.
Now, obviously I’m not a mental health professional, I’m not a doctor (and if you’re really battling some stuff, you can find help here). But I do know that chronic stress and anxiety will not help your body feel good at all. So while we figure out a way to be good, productive members of society, let’s work on how to be good, productive AND healthy (because, let’s face it: If you’re not feeling good, how productive can you really be?).
Here are some ways we can combat the negative effects of What’s Happening RightNowAllTheTime:
1. Set your limits. How much time have you been spending in front of the news and your Facebook feed? How much do your friends, family members, coworkers talk about politics day to day? A lot? I thought so. Here are a few ways to combat your exposure:
- Turn it down a notch. Instead of getting some form of the news throughout the day, try subtracting your viewing/listening/reading by a half hour. Still too much? Knock off more time until you’ve found your sweet spot.
- Set a conversation timer. Want to talk about current events but find that it's ALL you're talking to your loved ones about? Set a timer so you can get it all out and then move on to another topic. You can always go back but make sure you're also talking about OTHER parts of your life that matter.
- Turn off all electronics that have screens at least 30 minutes before bed. I think we all know by now that the blue light can mess with your sleep but it can also screw up your hunger signals. Put the screens away.
- Play some relaxing music while you take the day off like your contacts and makeup, while you floss and brush your teeth.
- Spend some time cuddling with your pets if you have any (did you know cat purrs have tremendous health benefits??). Or watch cat videos...
- Crawl into bed to a good non-work book. Try to read for 20 minutes or so.
- Get a mani and/or pedi and/or massage.
- Call your best friend and talk and catch up (texting doesn't count).
- Hug your people a little tighter.
- Take a hot bath for 20 minutes. (Y'all know how much I love Epsom salt baths, right?)
6. Shut it down. If Facebook or Instagram are making you ultra stressed out these days, take a break. You can get your news elsewhere without all of the highly-charged editorials. Shut it down. If you can’t bear the thought of unplugging, here are a few things you can do:
- Limit the amount of times you check your feeds. Again, there are apps for that.
- Unfollow the friends who post the most stomach-dropping news clips/memes/rants on social media for a while. It's OK. They won't know.