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Tips for Managing Post Election Stress

Many have reported increased stress leading up to and following the election. Life-Work Connections/EAP offers the following tips for those who might be feeling increased stress.

Breathe

Most of us hold or restrict our breath often when we are stressed. Deep, slow, full breaths stimulate the vagus nerve, which has a profound effect on resetting the stress response.  Take five deep breaths now, and observe how differently you feel after.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is all about experience, about the actual aliveness of each moment. You learn to pay attention on purpose, to be in the present moment, as this is where you find your life. Pay attention to now. Try a mindfulness app.

Practice thought management

William James said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” How we feel is often dictated by what we’re thinking and what we expect to happen. Take control over your emotions and learn to change the patterns that produce stress by identifying your goals (assessment), identifying the particular stressors and what is keeping you from your goals (diagnosis), and setting priorities (planning). In particular, look for patterns of knee-jerk reactions and negative attitudes. Identify and focus on what is in your control. Ask yourself "What can I control in this situation, and what can't I control?" Make a list of everything that you can control, and focus your energy on that list.

Be Supportive

If you know someone who has a particular fear as a result of the election, reach out to that person and let them know you're thinking of them. Offering support to others is a way for you to feel better. The same goes for anyone you know is going through a difficult time for reasons unrelated to the election.  For example, if you know someone who is going through cancer treatment, make sure that person doesn't feel forgotten in the election aftermath.

Debriefing

Pay attention to which forms of debriefing help you and which don’t. You may find that you need to step back from social media or the news at times if you find those outlets start making your feelings worse rather than better. Make a conscious choice about when you will use social media and pay attention to how it is impacting you.  If you find a social media free diet is difficult, try an app like Offtime, Moment, or AppDetox to help you maintain the limits you set for yourself. Be secretive with your supports - identify who you can debrief with in a way that's helpful to you.

Seek Additional Support

Everyone needs some assistance in managing stress at different points in life. For additional support, contact Life-Work Connections/EAP at (585) 475-0432, or eap@urmc.rochester.edu Life-Work Connections/EAP is part of the YOURhealth employee wellness program.

Tracy Bussey | 11/16/2016

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