Trump Angst: How to cope with rising levels of fear and disquiet within ourselves due to President Trump’s unbalanced behavior.
Many of us are struggling with our own mental health due to the daily influence of social media and the news. Therapists are talking about an influx of patients, and, as a therapist myself, I can personally attest to this. Folks with any type of disability, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, those who are impoverished, and many of elderly just to name a few, are scared their rights are being taken away and afraid of new laws making life more difficult for them. In addition to all of this, we now have to figure out what is “fake” vs “real” news with the constant bombardment by memes and articles on social media giving us eye catching headlines. In light of all of this, where is the middle ground? What can you do to disengage and find your happy medium? Here are 5 easy things everyone can do:
1. Take time daily to find balance and nurturance within yourself and nature. Daily mindfulness practice, yoga, or Tai Chi have been found to significantly reduce stress. Find something you enjoy doing and make sure you spend a few minutes each day doing this to unwind and destress. This should be mandatory for all of us. As a mom and having my own business, this has been a constant struggle. I have found that reading to my 2 year old son and only focusing on our joy and happiness together beneficial for both of us. He now loves story time more than ever and I get precious moments just being with him. A few easy strategies are eating lunch away from your desk and away from electronics, waking up a little bit earlier and enjoying that coffee or tea prior to the hustle and bustle of the day, and taking an evening walk and noticing nature around you.
2. Go back to basics: Whenever you feel out of balance, remember to look at your diet, sleep, and exercise. Get a physical from your medical doctor to ensure you do not have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Healthy eating and limiting your sugar intake is important. Sugary drinks, especially energy drinks, can be very deceptive. Reading the label and counting the grams of sugar is essential in todays world, do not just rely on the calorie intake. Exercising 3–5 times per week for 30–60 minutes has shown to be almost as beneficial as taking an antidepressant. Most people need between 6–9 hours of sleep per day. Some easy things to think about if sleep is evading you: having a regular sleep time routine, turning off all electronics prior to going to bed, drinking a non caffeinated tea, taking a hot shower prior to bed, having the right room temperature for your body and using dark curtains. Meditation can help as well.
3. Choose wisely: know what is in your control and what is out of your control. Take time to think through how you want to handle things that are in your control. Being stuck in traffic or having someone cut you off is incredibly frustrating but you are in control of your reaction to this. You can turn on the radio and jam out in your car and understand that you will arrive at your destination as quickly as possible. Stress and anger literally shave years off of your life and in between you are miserable as are all the people around you. Find healthy positive people to surround yourself with, and choose wisely and sparely when to allow yourself to feel stressed and angry. Many people are stressed by the changes, restrictions and regulations imposed so far by President Trump. Smiling at people, being helpful and welcoming all people no matter their gender, age, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status or ethnicity into our home, our lives and our businesses is vital. Showing love, compassion, empathy, and acts of kindness will tell others who we are and will guide us in our decision making, as well as, teach our children who to emulate.
4. Connect with an action group in your area or with a cause you feel worthy of your attention. This will help you focus on specific areas and will give you a focus. Choice a group you feel comfortable with and make sure you surround yourself with positive driven people who want to make a difference and not cause problems. The group can be policy driven, include demonstrations or include ways to help others such as Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, or volunteering in shelters. Understand that you cannot change the world but you can take part in changing a piece that is important to you. If you have no time to volunteer, then making a monetary donation to an organization such as ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project might be an option.
5. When succumbing and becoming upset about a policy change, an interview or whatever has you up in arms look at the following for guidance: First make sure you have all the correct information, really research it, and do not just believe what social media is telling you. Look at both side of the story and see if there are any missing pieces. Ask questions of those who may know more of the answers. Figure out what the actual effect of this is going to be. Many of my patients have come in and been up in arms about different things that either have not been passed or only partially passed into law. Is it upsetting to know that Trumpcare has gained traction, yes, but right now it still has to go through the senate. I am all for getting riled up when it is needed, but if it is premature and our laws of checks and balance will catch it, then you just raised your blood pressure for no reason. When posting or responding back to others, make sure you are seeing it as a multifaceted discussion and not just as war between two factions. Be the person you want others to be.