Election Have You Stressed Out? It Should.

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We thought this might be a timely article to talk about stress. If you read reliable news sources, it’s quite possible that you’re more than stressed about the direction this country seems to be taking. Among other things:

  • Our President-Elect has appointed a hero of the white nationalist movement as Chief Strategist (which appears to be consistent with his views on immigrants who aren’t white and which, funnily enough, doesn’t seem to be creating that feeling of unity he said he’d be shooting for). It is no coincidence that white supremacist groups, including the  KKK, are elated by the selection of Bannon.
  • Our President-Elect doesn’t appear to believe that climate change is a thing (see Politifact’s analysis here).
  • Our President-Elect has bragged about grabbing women’s genitals and his ability to get away with it (because, you know, fame). See for yourself here.
  • And our President-Elect said he wants to get rid of Gun-Free Zones at schools (among many other things). I have no response that doesn’t include an f-bomb.

The FBI tracks hate crimes and just announced that, surprise, surprise, they’ve gone up. There was a surge in 2015, likely correlated with violent rhetoric of the President-Elect’s campaign. A second surge occurred immediately after the election.

Symptoms of Stress, and How to Minimize Them

Just thinking about how things are going to look in a couple of months gives me waves of nausea. Other symptoms of stress that you might be experiencing include headaches, chest pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. So, what can you do? Here are a few things:

  1. Get involved. Whether it’s donating to a cause under threat, getting involved in local politics, or volunteering, doing something might make you feel better, and goodness knows we need all the help we can get.
  2. Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep. Get outside. For real — it helps. Researchers at Stanford concluded that walking in a natural environment is more restorative than being outside in an urban setting, and confers greater psychological benefits.
  3. If, like me, your neck is tweaked out because you’ve been glued to the news and internet, step away from the machine. Yes, it’s important to stay informed, but not to the point you can’t turn your head. And if unplugging yourself doesn’t help, consider a trip to your PT or massage therapist (according to the Mayo Clinic, massage can help reduce the symptoms of stress).

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m going for a run. By the river.