We can all agree that this week has been stressful, and now it’s over. It’s been days of waiting on election results and dealing with the turbulence of what seems like a never-ending race. Our bodies and minds are simply running in circles, leaving many of us anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. With all of those emotions added on top of the ongoing emotions due to COVID-19, it’s important to take a step back and focus on our mental health.
At the end of the day, that is what is most important.
Focus on yourself and relieve some stress, with measures that can be taken to give yourself peace of mind and tranquility. If you’re feeling a loss of control, remember to focus on yourself and your mental health. Practice self-care. Go for a run. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Here are tips on how to focus on your mental health during these unbearably stressful times:
FOCUS ON BASIC SELF-CARE
Focus on the little things each day that can ease your mind like going to bed early, drinking water, eating healthy, washing your face before bed, or getting some fresh air. As we all get increasingly more stressed each day, the more we focus on the little things, the more we can slowly begin to decrease the stress.
Fortunately for us, the weather forecast looks beautiful for the next couple of days. Take advantage of Detroit’s 70-degree weather in Detroit and get outside. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can provide stress relief for your body while imitating effects of stress, such as the flight or fight response, and helping your body and its systems practice working together through those effects. This can be done by taking a walk, going for a run, practicing yoga or turning on a virtual workout class.
After only a few minutes, you can reduce your anxiety and you will be in a better headspace for the day. Exercise is always great to blow off a little steam, providing a healthy distraction from the outside world.
CHECK-IN ON YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Make a note to check in on your friends and family. The might need a mental health check-in as well. Make a conscious decision to check in with someone you can speak with on a deeper level and talk about what’s really on your mind or, if you don’t feel like getting deep – pick up the phone for a friendly conversation or call someone just to say hi. Sometimes, a quick catch up call with your college roommate or grandma can make someone’s day and get your mind off of what’s on the news.
TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
Take a break from social media! Social media without a doubt can cause excess stress and anxiety, especially since everyone is choosing to use their social media platforms to discuss politics and the election. Within iPhone settings, you can set time limits on how much time to spend on social media each day. Knowing you only have a certain amount of time will help reduce the number of times you mindlessly scroll through the feed and refresh the page.
If you don’t want to set a time limit, leave your phone at home when you go for a walk. Reducing time on social media will help unclog your mind and ground yourself into the real world, focusing on your mental health, friends, and family.
DO SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO
Remember that banana bread recipe you spent hours mastering during the stay-at-home order earlier this year? Make it again. Read a book. Take a bath. Get out the adult coloring book you purchased during quarantine (we all know a lot of you did!). Just do something for YOU that will keep your mind busy.
Although you may not feel productive doing these activities, they have more of a positive impact on your mental health than you think. We spend days checking off endless to-do lists of things we have to get done, so make an effort to take the time to do something you want to do. Self-care can look different to everyone.
If you don’t already have this app on your phone, download it now. The Headspace app offers everyday mindfulness and meditation for stress, anxiety, sleep, focus, fitness, and more. Starting with just three minutes a day, these (free) meditations can reduce your election anxiety. Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, meditating can have the following benefits:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Increasing patience
- Managing your stress
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness, imagination and creativity
- Reducing negative emotions