Sunday, October 9, 2016

10 Things You Can Do to Sustain Your Sanity Until This Election is Over


Help me, Jesus. How are we going to make it through the next four weeks? Is any one else feeling like that? Working on a You: Sustainable means you may need to take special steps during particular times of life or certain events. A friend recently took her mother to the ER with a mild heart attack and when the doctor asked her what had her so upset she said through clenched teeth, "This election!"

When the craziness starts to take a toll on our health and well being, it's time to take action. Let's look at 10 ways to guard ourselves from the negative effects of current events. These methods work long and short term for a variety of stressful situations.

I've actually changed a lot of behavior because of this election to keep from curling up in a ball somewhere. Here are some tips to help you make it to November with your right mind.

If you didn't have it to start with I can't help you.

1. Stop watching the 24 hour news networks. This is hard for me because I have been a lifelong news junkie. This comes from a powerful curiosity that serves me well in lots of ways. 

Instead of watching a network that has 24 hour news cycles to fill go with the old fashioned 30 minute news cast of the networks or my favorite, BBC. I am avoiding like the plague any "news" where there is a panel of people yelling at each other. The "news" is often now nothing more than a bunch of annoying people's opinions about what happened. I can get that at the local bar. With wine. 

 2. Practice gratitude. Turn everything off and sit quietly thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for. As bad as things seem we are not living without running water or electricity in a country where tribal warlords are in charge. Read a history book. Think things are worse than they've ever been? Not by a long shot. Not for you personally or for the country as a whole. In fact in a multitude of ways things are better than they have ever been. Perspective is a great thing.

3. Treat Facebook like a party. If you spend a lot of time on social media you know why I say this. When I was a kid --how old do I sound?-- people didn't constantly share every political or religious thought they had in public. In fact it was taboo. I used to ignore this rule and blather my opinions and beliefs every where. Now I see the reason behind it. Civility. Let's keep our social media encouraging and uplifting. And if you don't have anything nice to say...

4. Don't waste your time arguing with people on Twitter or Facebook. Studies show that practically no one changes their mind due to someone's Facebook posts. Stop spinning your wheels and keeping yourself wound up. It literally doesn't help at all. Go outside. Pet the dog. Read a book. Trying to be right is just a huge waste of time. It also isn't doing your body any good. That elevated blood pressure and clenched jaw? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Here's a sharable image for today:

5. Hide, at least temporarily, the social media feeds of those who make you feel irritated or annoyed, angry even. I was seeing posts, fact checking and proving them wrong, and writing long replies to correct people, then deleting them knowing I wouldn't change their minds. It's so much better just not to see them. Trust me.

6. Carefully choose your information source.  Occasionally I will follow a link someone posts --#thestruggleisreal-- on Facebook thinking it's a site with real information. I cannot tell you how many times it's to something ridiculous like a woman with stringy hair in her basement literally just reading news from newspapers and looking at the camera and saying that the story seems off to her. Oh something is off alright.

7. Speak peace. Our words have energy. Don't let yourself be triggered or thrown off balance. Decide that whatever you hear or no matter how much someone tries to unload all of their opinions on you that you are going to speak kindly, slowly, and reasonably. I know from experience how hard this is when you are passionate. But what we need right now are rational thinkers and people who speak from a place of loving calm. It is highly unlikely people are going to listen to your list of facts anyway. Here's why. 

Here's another pinnable reminder:

8. Laugh. Watch funny cat videos, get together with your most entertaining friends, or watch your favorite stand up comedian. It's not escapism if it's keeping you from being depressed. It's survival. Seinfeld is therapy. Read about destressing with laughter here.

9. Get up. Did you know that one of the most dangerous things facing the American population today isn't violence in the streets or ISIS? It is the amount of time we spend sitting. We never see a reporter go live to Fred sitting in his recliner though. No presidential candidate is getting people whipped into a frenzy over your butt being on the couch. Scientists are now trying to figure out a way to demonize sitting the way they did smoking because, as it turns out, exercise doesn't undo the effects of sitting. God, help us all. And you thought the election was depressing. 

10.  Plant something. The soil has microbes that are proven to fight depression as effectively as antidepressants. In addition to that planting something is proof that you have hope for the future. And that may be the most important thing of all.  Read about the scientific reason gardening makes you happy! 

I know that some people will think that following my advice means sticking your head in the sand, or someplace worse.  Choosing not to internalize what's happening doesn't mean you are uninformed or unthinking. It means that you are thinking rationally about what you have control over (your thoughts, actions, and words) and what you don't (the current political environment).

There are tons of other things to do to feel better: volunteer someplace, help someone, put on upbeat music and dance. Anything that takes your mind off things.

Mind your focus and focus your mind. Please forward this post to anyone who you think would benefit from it. We are all in this together!



  1. My favorite of your ten is "get up". I need to leave the table and couch and cleanse my mind outdoors.

    1. It can be hard though, especially with winter coming up when we just want to make a nest and read or watch TV. I try to get up during every commercial and do something like put a glass in the dishwasher or wipe down the bathroom sink. Of course getting outside is optimal.


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