The following information is provided by the Partners Employee Assistance Program.
Some members of our community who may be directly affected by recent events are likely to be experiencing a great deal of stress and worry and we encourage these individuals to reach out to the many resources available through the MGH. For others who have more general concerns and anxiety, we have included the following guidance:
Regardless of your politics, this is a time of change and uncertainty in the United States. Concerns about national security, terrorism, hacking threats, gun rights and sexual assault can trigger distrust, fear and anxiety. Frequent messages from news media, Facebook postings, tweets and other social media can be overwhelming. Are you avoiding co-workers, friends and family members with whom you disagree? You are not alone. Strong feelings about politics are causing not only rifts between democrats and republicans, but also among co-workers, families and friends.
How can you minimize stress and feel safe? Here are some suggestions that can help you maintain your well-being during challenging times.
- Make active decisions about when and for how long to listen to media reports. Filter the flood of news from all its sources including radio, TV and the internet. It’s OK to not be plugged in all the time. Limit time on social media.
- Change the subject. Be aware of how much politics are dominating conversations with co-workers, friends and family. It’s OK to tell people that you’d rather not talk about politics - don’t hesitate to switch to a more neutral topic. Avoid politics altogether if a conversation is likely to escalate to conflict.
- Contain your worry. Limit the amount of time you spend worrying. It’s better to set aside time during the day to think about what worries you.
- Use your energy to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Options include volunteering in your community or attending a rally to advocate for an issue you support, or one a friend or colleague supports.
- Nurture good connections to those you care about. Spend time with people who support and validate you. They can be comforting and help you to sit with uncomfortable emotions.
- Use coping strategies such as taking a walk, exercising, reading a book, spending quiet time alone, watching a funny movie, taking a bubble bath and getting enough sleep.
- Stay focused on your regular work and home activities. Routines can be calming and reassuring.
- Be optimistic about challenges ahead. Stay in touch with your sources of spiritual strength and renewal (nature, prayer, yoga, meditation, etc.)