Cultural weather report: stress is up and it’s raining tears! We all know that it is a stressful time. Every day there are angry, upset, frantic, and pleading people asking for your help NOW! Pick up the phone! Donate here! Write your senators! While you’re at it, write all the senators!
Calls-to-action are everywhere – the morning news, your social media feed, your family members and friends, billboards on your drive to work, your sports teams and even your favorite stars on the red carpet. Everyone has an opinion on current events.
No wonder anxiety is up! As early as September 2016, Slate reported that therapists were struggling to keep up with the need of an increasing number of patients looking for help to navigate the common “hallucinatory sense of slow-motion doom.”
Slate’s article features therapist Carol Wachs, who has noticed the increase of anxiety in her patients over the political climate. She explains that a “vertiginous sense of unreality is a symptom of an anxiety attack, but it is also a symptom of being a thinking person in America [during this time].”
Many Americans who have not previously had to cope with anxiety have suddenly found themselves with frequent waves of panic and insecurity. More people require serious and legitimate self-care to continue accomplishing every day tasks.
And while you may be ready to burn your bra and fight, some of your friends and neighbors may need to take a few deep breaths before joining you in the line of activist duty.
This is not to say that it is okay to be a turtle.
AKA: Hide in your shell until the coast is clear.
But if you – yes you, the fired up and active go-getter – are frustrated by another’s seeming lack of involvement, take a breath and consider these:
- Don’t judge a book by its Facebook status. Many of us are comfortable blasting our political beliefs on Facebook and are not afraid to de-friend someone if they disagree with us. Remember that for many others, Facebook is a professional tool where political opinions are inappropriate. It’s okay to support current causes without blasting it to the world.
- Keep your boundaries. Like many of you, I am part of a members only Facebook group. Recently, a friend posted an energetic request for members to call Washington and show support for the ACA. To my surprise, another member posted a respectful request for this group to remain centered around our group’s theme, as it is one of the only places she can go to read about something other than politics on Facebook. It’s hard to escape bad news. To give yourself and others a little respite, keep political speak out of groups or relaxation areas (like the lunch room).
- Two’s a party, three’s a crowd. Your anxious friends may want to go to a rally, workshop, or march, but gathering in crowds is inherently difficult for them. If you notice that a friend has a hard time showing up on her own, offer to meet up or assemble a group of friends to attend together. This is a win-win: you get more support for your cause and your friend can feel a little safer knowing she isn’t attending alone .
- Forgive and let live. Everyone will react to each new hurdle differently. If your friend needs some time for self care before joining your letter writing campaign or needs to take a night off from calling state representatives, remember to forgive her and let her take care of herself. When it comes to fighting the long fight, it’s important to give a little time for others and take a little time for yourself.
This post comes from LH contributor Lyndsey Karp.
For more information about self care during anxious times, check out these Little Hinges posts: