Whether you’re watching CNN or FoxNews, scrolling Facebook or getting pinged with constant updates on your phone, there’s a good chance that the news is straight driving you nuts. You’re not alone. It turns out the news and politics stress out a majority of Americans. To be precise two-thirds of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, are worried about the future of America according to a 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association, Stress In America: The State of Our Nation.
So what do you do? Well, I’m gonna be real with you, no matter what the outcome of these impending midterm elections, politics and news induced stress isn’t going anywhere (regardless of which aisle you sit on). So we best learn how to manage it. Which is why we’ve built a list of five ways to reclaim your sanity this election season! We listed them in order of simplest to most challenging.
Seriously, this takes nearly no effort. Here’s a video to make it super simple. https://youtu.be/LW5anWXJruM
Go here: https://www.vote.org/. Figure out if you’re registered (if you’re not, check to see if registration is still open in your state). If you have already registered to vote by mail, you should have received your ballot, and you can fill it out and send it in. If you aren't registered for absentee voting (vote by mail), then figure out where the physical polling is. If early voting is available at your location, pick a date and a time to go. Otherwise, make a plan to get your butt to the poll on Tuesday, November 6.
Most of being stressed out about news and politics because we feel like we have no control. But we do. We have the right to vote. Yes, some of our votes count more than others depending on where we live. But they all count, literally. Will it change the outcome? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s like the saying goes “let me control the things I can, let go of the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Okay, so that’s not exactly how the saying goes. But you get the point. Own your vote and your opinion. It’s genuinely simple.
Volunteer to canvass or do a call bank. I spent three hours walking around Palmdale last Saturday, knocking on doors canvassing for a local candidate. Out of the 54 homes my friend, Bri, and I visited, we had ten conversations (most people didn’t open their door). We spoke with Democrats and Republicans. Everyone was kind and polite. Did I convince anyone to vote for our candidate? I don’t know. But it was a very empowering experience. It helped me remember that kindness is apolitical and that the cool thing about a democracy is that you have the right to be informed about your candidates and vote for who you choose. It was a surprising stress relief!
So if you want to get involved start here:
4. Take the next The 10-Day Stress Detox
This is a shameless plug, and I mean it. Take the detox program we created. It is built to help you manage your stress in the face of stress triggers, like politics and the news. We have one starting on Monday, November 5 (the day before the election) and Monday, November 19 (13 days after the election results and four days before the stress of the holidays kicks off). As I said, the midterm elections are not going to make politics or news less stressful, so please equip yourself with smart, practical tools to manage it.
5. Stop Watching the News & Turn Off Notifications On Your Phone
This one seems simple, but it is actually quite complicated! We all know that turning off the TV, not going on Facebook, and changing the notification settings on our phone are the fastest ways to reduce stress. But they’re hard to do because they are habits! If you would like to or have tried to change these habits but are struggling, please see tip #4 above. In The 10-Day Stress Detox, we specifically tackle habits related to stress and teach you how to change them. I highly encourage you to take the program and to use “watching the news,” “scrolling Instagram,” or “engaging in Facebook political debates” as the habit you’d like to work on!
In the meantime, if you want to change your phone notifications for the news or social media on, follow these steps:
Navigate to Settings
Scroll down to Notifications
Select the App you want to tailor notifications for (I recommend prioritizing changing Facebook, Instagram, and any news outlets)
Here’s the last bit of advice we have to offer on this topic. It is the most important thing that we teach in our 10-Day Stress Detox and our B.O.S.S. Self-care strategy. It is not your job to save the world.
There things that you can’t control period. There are things that you can control, but it will destroy your health and sanity in the process. Be the change you want to see. Learn to own your ideas and opinions. Approach heated debates and disagreements with kindness and curiosity, especially when it is most difficult. But don’t get it twisted. Your job is not to save the world. Your job is to live a purposeful, meaningful life. And I hope and believe that entails making positive impacts on the communities you care about most. You cannot do that if you are burnt out. Chronic stress leads to disease, disillusion, and bad decisions--all things that weaken democracy and society. So if you're fired up, keep your passion. Or if you're disillusioned, stoke your fire. But do it with self-compassion and self-care as a top priority.