10 Ways to Reduce Stress From a Political News Junkie
OK, I did it to myself. I am kind of a news junkie. I like politics and I keep up on current events. Now I am going on a diet – a news diet – because this election season is stickier than pine pitch on a dog.
I’m at a point where I am even cautious about social media, which has become less than social these days. Some of my friends are feeling it too, and a lot of us could use a little stress relief right about now.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Life is for living. The sun will come up tomorrow. The light at the end of the tunnel may not actually be an oncoming train.
And if you want to keep your blood pressure down and your heart open, here are 10 tips to help you do that:
Turn Off the Television
It’s not helping. You probably already know who you are going to vote for and another news cycle won’t change that. Allow yourself 30 minutes a day to catch up.
I recommend a good old-fashioned newspaper as opposed to the sound bites that you will get from a media personality. Let yourself read and think instead of watching and reacting.
Remember, when you yell at the television, you look crazier than you really are.
Read a Book
Before I was so enmeshed with email and the Internet, I read more. Right now the Internet is like the television, a bombardment of repeated, recycled information. Turn it off.
When was the last time that you took a cookbook to bed and read all the recipes that you wanted to try? We should all have emergency books near by in case we are tempted to stare at the train wreck of politics for too long.
Invite a Friend for Lunch, but Don’t Talk about Politics
I enjoy catch-up lunches with friends. A simple salad, maybe a glass of wine, and an afternoon to talk about your kids, books, films and life. Hanging with friends is definitely life affirming.
No friends where you live? Find a place to volunteer–the animal shelter, a food bank, libraries—any place where the television isn’t on and people are interacting with each other.
Paint Your Toe Nails
I always feel better when I have newly painted toes. It’s so bi-partisan. Newly painted toes can give you a new lease on life and bring a smile to your face.
Collage. Watercolor. Clay. Fabric. Do something with your hands other than pull your hair out.
Make beauty. Make whimsy. Celebrate your creative side.
Keep Social Media, Social
Chances are you aren’t going to convince anyone to change their position on who they support in the election, so back away from the more negative conversations and find a good cat video to watch instead.
Write in Your Journal
Write a letter. Write poetry. Write prayers. Write stories. Write a memoir.
Just don’t write letters to your Senator.
Go for a Hike or a Walk
Being in nature is always uplifting and life affirming. Digging around in the garden counts too.
A few hours outside in the sunshine or any kind of effort that makes you feel that “good kind of tired” will heal a lot of ills.
Clean Out Your Closet
It will give you a sense of having some control. Plus, there’s a lot of satisfaction to a well-organized closet, and to getting rid of the old stuff you no longer need.
Do Yoga or Slow Stretching
Light a candle and get present with your wonderful self. Deep breathing can untangle the angst of election season stress.
And if none of this works for you, keep the makings for a good, stiff martini at hand, at least until we get past November.
What are some of the things that you do to alleviate stress? What advice would you give to a friend who is feeling anxious about the news? Please join the conversation.
Stephanie Raffelock is a novelist and a blogger. In her Sixty and Me column, she’s going to explore how you make the art of writing work for you. Her debut novel is represented by Dystel Goderich Literary Management in New York. You can find Stephanie at StephanieRaffelock.com or Tweet her @Sraffelock.