Support for Political Stress
2020, with stress related to the pandemic, social unrest, economic concerns, and natural disasters, is a year that's challenged us all! We want you to know that CAPS is here to support you. CAPS services are for every University of Arizona student, including students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, religions, abilities, and sizes. We welcome you.
Try These Strategies for Finding Peace From Political Distress:
All of us are coping with multiple layers of stress, grief, and even trauma this year, which can leave you feeling depleted. Mind your energy by being intentional about how you spend your time.
Here's an article about surge capacity and why it's important to take good care of your energy: Your Surge Capacity is Depleted - It's Why You Feel Awful (Here's What to Do)
Create your own election self-care plan with this tool from Shine.
More ways to be intentional with your time and energy:
Take Good Care of Yourself
Practice good self-care to help maintain your resilience in stressful times. Sleep, nutrition, and enjoyable movement are a great place to start. Also be sure to include leisure time and other activities that help you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally balanced in your daily routine.
Wellness Tools From Campus Health:
Living Wild Wellness tips published by the Health Promotion and Preventive Services department at UA Campus Health Service.
Pathways to Wellness Design your own path to wellness, inside and out, and discover tips and campus resources to support your journey.
Stressbusters Wellness, U of A Edition: audio tracks, relaxation, meditation, events.
Set Boundaries With News, Media, and Politics
Give yourself some space from all the political talk. Make sure you take time away from the news and social media, and clarify with yourself which conversations are most important to you right now. You may have a lot you want to say and endless opportunities to get into a debate. Stop and ask yourself whether this is a direction that will serve you and others best. If you do want to lend a helping hand to the election or give someone you care about reliable information, try to point them to reliable sources and fact-checking resources rather than being the one to single-handedly change their mind.
Ideas for setting boundaries with news, media, and politics:
10 Tips for Setting Boundaries Online on Psych Central
5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries Around News and Social Media on Bon Appetit Health
How To Set Boundaries for Media (@afspnational):
- Set intentional time for media consumption, limit scrolling
- Filter feeds to positive content, limiting posts that may cause stress
- Read stories from trusted sources and be cautious of misinformation on social
- Avoid news right before bedtime
- Turn off notifications and avoid reading comments as needed
Be Selective About Where Your Energy Goes
Put your energy where it will make the biggest impact and have the most meaning in your life. Consider the aspects of your life that contribute most to your well-being and make them a priority. And notice any domains of life, actions, or circumstances that leave you feeling drained. Pay particular attention to the difficult conversations or conflicts that might arise as the election nears. Ask yourself how you can approach these from a different perspective of whether it serves you to spend your energy there at all right now.
You can find the strength to get through any uncertain or challenging situation by letting your values lead the way. Here's how:
Focus on Meaning
Meaning is one of the building blocks to our well-being, so focus on the most meaningful conversations and actions in your life. Apply this to conversations you have, especially if they relate to the election. Be extra-mindful of the meanings you attach to situations and other people's actions. And wherever you can, find ways to contribute to your community in meaningful ways.
Clarify Your Core Values
No matter the outcome of the election, you can live a value-driven life by identifying your most important values and living in alignment with them. Give yourself a little time for quiet contemplation and consider what matters most to you in life. What is your personal vision for your life? What are the beliefs, ideals, ethics, or morals that make you who you are? Most importantly, how do you incorporate these values into your daily life?
Know Your Strengths
Knowing your unique strengths can help you choose where to focus your energy, understand other people's perspectives, navigate challenging situations, and boost your overall resilience. To identify your strengths, think of how you typically solve problems in life or the advice you commonly give your friends. Do you tend to focus on feelings or logic? Research or creative thinking? Humor or strategy? There's no end to the unique combinations of strengths each of us possesses.
Helpful tools to led your values lead the way:
- Affirming Important Values A science-based positive psychology exercise by the Greater Good in Action
- Finding Meaning to Cope with Life Struggles on Psych Central
- Personal Strengths and Weaknesses Defined (+ A List of 92 Strengths) on Positive Psychology
- Realizing Your Meaning: 5 Ways to Live a Meaningful Life on Positive Psychology
- Stage of Life Wellness resources on Pathways to Wellness
- Values in Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths A free scientific survey to uncover your personal strengths. Used by positive psychology researchers and therapists.
Be an Engaged Citizen
Combat stress with empowerment. In whatever way feels right to you, find ways you can make an impact by being an engaged citizen. Here are some ideas to consider:
A Step-By-Step Action Plan for Becoming a More Informed and Engaged Citizen on Good Housekeeping
Protect the Vote a nonpartisan organization defending voter rights.
Rock the Vote a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people.
Help Your Community
You can continue to make a positive impact beyond the election by taking steps to make your community a better place. Everyone has the power to make the world a better place, starting right where they live. Bring a garbage bag along and take a stroll through your neighborhood and pick up garbage /recycling. Put potted plants and a hummingbird feeder outside your door. Or set up a Little Free Library. If you have the resources to go bigger, find volunteer organizations that make your community a better place.
Explore these tips and resources to help make your community a better place:
How to Prevent Crime in Your Neighborhood on A Secure Life
101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City on Curbed
Check In on Your Friends
Social distancing, election stress, midterms...there are lots of reasons to check in on your friends this fall! Make a point of having quality interactions with your friends. Show your appreciation, stay present in your conversations, and don't forget to ask how they're doing.
Tips and Tools for Checking In on Your Friends:
CAPS Tips on How to Help a Friend, including signs it's time to seek professional help and ways to suggest counseling.
10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation TED Talk by Celeste Headlee
7 Ways to Support Others During Tough Times on Huffington Post
How to Connect with Others TED Talk Playlist
The Art of Meaningful Conversation TED Talk Playlist
View more interpersonal wellness tips from CAPS Pathways to Wellness.
Take your mind off the news and let everything be okay for just a minute by creating little moments of tranquility for yourself. Get out in nature or go where you feel awe and inspiration. Give yourself small diversions that help boost your mood. This might also be a great time to try out meditation.
Fun & Relaxing Diversions
30-Minute Feel Good Dance Cardio & Grooves Workout from POPSUGAR Fitness
60 YouTube Channels That Will Make You Smarter by The Graph
Fun Yoga Routine for Flexibility with Jackelyn Ho
On Being Podcast with Krista Tippett
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown
Sounds Good a podcast about good news from Good Good Good
Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris
Talks to Inspire and Motivate
Chris Abani on Humanity TED Talk
Remembering Goodness: 3 Gestures of Love with Tara Brach
Talks That'll Give You a Warm Fuzzy Feeling TED Talk Playlist
5-10-Minute Meditations Playlist by Goodful
Liberate Meditations and talks designed for the Black, Indigenous, and people of color experience. Led by BIPOC teachers.
Shine Inclusive meditations, diverse community, personalized affirmations, and gratitude journaling.
Short Guided Meditation to Develop Your Inner Peace by The Mindful Movement
The Honest Guys Meditations on YouTube
Mindfulness and Compassion Exercises
Guided Mindfulness Meditations by Jack Kornfield
Journaling for Mindfulness: 44 Prompts, Examples, and Exercises by Positive Psychology
Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Exercises on Greater Good in Action
22 Mindfulness Exercises, Techniques, and Activities (+ PDF's) by Positive Psychology
Being a lifelong learner is good for your well-being and can be a great way to cope with political stress. Take the time to check your facts, learn about the issues facing underrepresented groups, and stay informed about the candidates and their platforms.
When you're feeling stressed, it's also a good idea to keep learning about mental health from reliable sources.
Tools for Fact-Checking
7 Tips To Help You Tell Real News From Fake on Huff Post
How to Spot Fake News on FactCheck.org
The 8 Best Fact-Checking Sites for Finding Unbiased Truth by Make Use Of
Learn About Social and Racial Justice
Nonpartisan Voting Guides
Sources for Reliable Mental Health Information
Staying Mindful When Talking Politics
It can be tricky to navigate conversations about the election with family and friends. Two people can have a very different inner experience of the same situation or issue, which can lead to misunderstandings and tension. Stay mindful of how you approach these challenging conversations with these tips:
- Resist the temptation to debate if you're not in the right mental or emotional state.
- Avoid taking an "us vs. them" approach by staying mindful of personal comments and generalizations you tend to make.
- Remain open to learning where another person's perspective comes from.
- Remain aware of your personal triggers and what you can do to self-soothe.
- Decide whether a conversation is going to be meaningful or constructive. Getting into a fight with a random person on social media is probably going to be less constructive than a heart-to-heart with a trusted family member.
- Pay attention to how you feel during the conversation, and take the steps you need to remain composed.
Tools for Keeping Your Cool When Talking Politics
When Politics Gets Personal: Navigating Election Season With Your Family by Good Housekeeping
View more interpersonal wellness tips from CAPS Pathways to Wellness.
Reach Out When You Want to Retreat
Ever felt like hiding away? Maybe after a stressful day or when you’re feeling embarrassed? Everyone’s felt that way before, but for some people, the election is only amplifying that. Sometimes, it’s a sign that you need just that: an escape. And sometimes, it means it’s time to reach out for support.
At Campus Health, we want you to know that there are lots of ways to get support and so many people who want to help you because you matter. We also want you to know that many people find asking for help hard. If you're scared to get support, remember that feeling scared is okay and take it one step at a time.
Here are 12 signs it’s time to reach out (rather than retreat):
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, or helpless.
- Feeling panicked or obsessed about a situation in your life.
- Feeling increasingly disconnected from the people in your life.
- Dissatisfaction with solitary time but afraid or reluctant to reach out.
- Difficulty getting out of bed.
- Exhaustion even after getting a good night’s sleep or taking a break.
- Difficulty focusing even when you have all the right conditions.
- Loss of motivation, interest, or pleasure in the things you normally care about.
- Changes in your normal sleeping and eating patterns.
- Mood swings.
- Feeling paralyzed by responsibilities or obligations.
- Having thoughts of hurting yourself or being better off dead.
*If you or someone you know is an immediate suicidal crisis or emergency, call 911. Click here to see who to call if you're in crisis.
More Ways to Reach Out:
Don't Suffer From Your Depression in Silence TED talk by Nikki Webber Allen
Get Immediate Help on MentalHealth.gov
What to Do if You Are Sexually Assaulted on Very Well Mind
10 Ways to Reach Out in a Mental Health Crisis on Healthline
How to Support Others Who Reach Out for Help:
7 Ways to Support Others During Tough Times on Huffington Post
Guides for Mental Health
4 Ways to Let Go of Political Stress on Power of Positivity
5 Ways to Cope Better with Political Stress Now on Psychology Today
What Experts Say About Mental Health During Times of Social and Political Tension on the Daily Wildcat
Online Tools from CAPS and Campus Health
Campus Health's 30-Day Mental Health Project on Instagram
Campus Health's Mental Health Instagram stories
Campus Health's Black Lives Matter Resources and Tips for Speaking Out Against Racism Resource Library
Campus Health's Coping with COVID-19 Resource Library
TAO Pathways: Free self-help activities recommended by CAPS:
Enroll in TAO PATHWAYS for free and enter the enrollment key: CAPS-Cares-520