MENTAL HEALTH WELL-BEING: Reminders as Election Day approaches

Brittany Bennett

Some may be focused on preparing for the election result as others may find themselves focused on the reaction of others around them: family, friends, co-workers and others’ social media post.

As the election nears it is important to focus on what we need to take care of ourselves. These tidbits encompass self-care, limiting exposure to media, and encouragement to strive for balance.

— Decide on when and how you will receive your political news updates. In today’s world the news is at our fingertips. When you turn on the television, you’re very likely to be faced with news reports, opinions, controversy and sometimes conflict. For some, the aforementioned can be overwhelming and time consuming. Consider taking in just enough to be informed by your trusted sites and sources. Remind yourself to be conscious of when you may need a break. You may want to switch off the news, re-group and re-charge.

— Be aware of your social media exposure. Social media is fluid. It never stops. There are positives and negatives. Unity and disconnect. It could be worthwhile to take inventory of your thoughts, feelings and reactions as you open up articles, read personal posts of others, watch video recordings, or share your own opinions. If you find that you are emotionally impacted by the content in your news feed, or other’s response to your views, it may be beneficial to consider how you want to filter and limit its presence. You may find you prefer to log-off the social media sites or take a short hiatus. If you need it, do it.

— You may find there is chatter and deep discussion of politics around you within your family, your social circle, and even your place of employment. Be mindful of who you want to discuss these matters with. Be mindful to identify what your purpose and expectation is when engaged in political conversation. If discussions become uncomfortably emotional be mindful to make room for space as needed. Have a game plan of what to do when you need a breather, and commit to following through.

If you find you are experiencing emotional challenges within yourself or stress in your relationships with others, consider at least temporarily limiting your time with those people in your life. Focus your time elsewhere. Perhaps make a routine to go for a daily walk, spend time with people who make you feel good and laugh, enjoy one of your favorite meals.

If you find your mental health is in a decline, take note if there are changes in your sleep, appetite or concentration and consider consulting with a professional therapist and your primary care physician. There are so many benefits in doing so: Insight, support, and time for yourself.

— Make time to do the things you love. Although that could be tough and limited because of the pandemic, it is important to have things to look forward to. Take the time to identify what you can do, what you enjoy doing, and make the time to do so.

And last but not least, a special reminder: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Brittany Bennett of Niagara Falls is a licensed mental health counselor. Send your questions to her at bbennettlmhc@gmail.com .

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