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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

How to take care of yourself when news and politics are so polarized

Right now there is so much political turmoil, and it can be hard to escape it. News, social media, conversations and more are continually reminding us of how divided people are in this country. No matter where you stand in terms of your political views, I think we can all agree that it takes a toll on mental health across the board to be consuming information about this conflict and to feel the effects of the things that have happened. It can feel awful to hear stories of violence, and it can feel hopeless to hear that the law may be taking away your freedoms, or that it already has. This is especially hard when it feels so out of our control. It can be scary to feel that if you voice your opinions you may lose friends or family over it, or have to defend your stance with another person in an argument. Most people don’t stop to think about the impact that politics and news can have, but it can add a lot of stress to our everyday lives. Some people may be experiencing grief or worry about a loss of rights whether it be for gun rights, bodily autonomy, or something else. Others may be experiencing grief and isolation for the loss of relationships over political disagreements within families.

So, where do we go from here? How can you feel better when so much of what is happening is out of your control? It may sound trite, but limiting your consumption of news and social media where possible can make a big difference. Some may say that it is your duty to be informed and to be involved in speaking out for your views, but at the end of the day you come first. It can be helpful to get involved with activism to give some sense of control or even community with regards to the political issues you are concerned about, but to go all in on that can be draining. It may be helpful for you to change your routine to include more relaxation activities, rest, exercise, or time to connect with others. You may even need a reminder to take care of your sleep, food intake, water intake, or other health needs. It is important to acknowledge your feelings without judgment, and have an outlet for communicating those feelings whether it be to some higher power, a notebook, friend, pet, or family member. With so much disconnection, it may be meaningful to work on building community in some area of your life, or maybe reconnecting with a community that you used to be more involved with (Boston University, n.d.).

Self-care is like putting gas in your car. If you forget to do it or ignore it, eventually your car will stop running, and it may be in an inconvenient spot. In the same way, it can be easy to overlook self-care, but if you ignore it for long enough, it is going to be difficult to accomplish anything. You may not reach this point of burnout as often as you have to fill up on gas, but maybe it is time to look at the gas gauge for your mind and body and see how close it is to empty.



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