MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN TRUMP’S AMERICA

Artwork Cred: Universoul- Keith O’Keith

Yeah, I said it. It’s Trump’s America, whether we want to accept this reality or not. He may not represent you individually or your beliefs, but he’s the man with the nuclear codes. Many of us may not accept him as our president but denying his title doesn’t take away from his power or the pandemonium that’s ensuing. At this moment, we can’t change who our president is so the question becomes, how do we exist in this new, chaotic normal?

ACCEPTING REALITY

There are a lot of angry people (rightfully so) and the first thing that concerns me as a clinician is their mental health. Daily, it’s either persecutory executive orders or tweets of his inner thoughts that sends people’s voices, blood pressure and heart rate skyrocketing (Someone please hide his phone chargers and pens). And don’t just bank on impeachment; his boy Pence isn’t the alarm clock to this nightmare. Either way, we’re in for a long four years, so make sure your strapped in tight for the rollercoaster ride. We may not be able to control what happens around us, but we have the power to control our reactions to them. In turn, we can be active participants in these uncontrollable situations and try our best to manage our mental health while living in Trump’s unpredictable war path.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Don’t saturate yourself with the news. Be informed but don’t become engulfed. My grandfather tells me he watches news just to get mad…don’t be grandpa. You control the energy you welcome into your space so be mindful of your news input. Stay on top of what’s going on, as it is likely to affect you or someone you know immediately or soon.

WHAT YOU THINK, YOU BECOME

Control your thoughts. If you find yourself becoming consumed with what’s going on, give yourself a mental break. It’s a daily rollercoaster of emotions with someone as mentally unstable and unsound as President Twitter Fingers, but you’ll drive yourself crazy thinking about it all day. You can use simple mindfulness tools at home and work, like aromatherapy as suggested by National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

You better get some lavender or peppermint in your life honey! Or try turning on calming music like a classical or meditation station. Keep a bottle of your favorite lotion handy and sneak in a quick hand massage. Take a walk around the block on your lunch break. Download a mindfulness app. Find something to keep yourself from becoming mentally consumed by the onslaught of emotions that are evoked from this presidency.

GET IT OUT YOUR SYSTEM

Find a way to manage your stress. You can find good deals on sites like Living Social and Groupon for local deals on gyms, yoga classes, massages, boxing classes, etc. But take care of your physical which will aid in the mental. While you’re on there, plan a girl’s night with deals on spa treatments, party buses, paintball, cooking classes and more.

DO YOU BOO

Self-care is mandatory. When I was in high school, my mom would call the school and let them know I was taking a “stress day” (one of few advantages of being the child of a therapist). And it’s something I still do; I get my nails done, go to a massage, shop, or whatever I need to do to de-stress. It doesn’t have to break the bank either. Try taking a bubble bath with some scented oils, a good glass of wine, or watch your favorite movie.

GET UP OFF THAT THANG

Find a way to get involved. Don’t just sit around and be upset. Take to the streets if that’s what you feel (I don’t march but I’ll boycott you real quick). Donate to organizations working to protect women’s health and reproductive rights such as the Global Fund for Women, or use www.charitynavigator.org to find other reputable organizations that are working to protect and support girls and women, both home and abroad.

Upset about the DAPL? Here’s an article that gives you different ways to join the protest that is at your comfort level. As executive orders and laws start to effect the things you passionately value, use my best friend Goggle to find ways to get involved in the fight.

DON’T JUST TALK ABOUT IT

Get more involved in the political process. Educate yourself on what’s happening and become active in impeding these policies. Flood your senator’s office with emails and calls—show them you have a voice and you’re not afraid to use it. Pay attention to local and state ballots and policies. Voting doesn’t occur just every four years. We have to be involved every step of the way. Explore or encourage other minorities—racial, gender and sexual orientation—to get involved in politics. Laws for us can only be passed by people who represent us.

TAKE CARE OF YOU

Everyone has their own tactics that work for them that can help alleviate stress and manage extreme emotions. If you don’t know what works for you, I encourage you to try some of these ideas to help you get through these high-charged, emotional times.

We’re all busy, pulled into different directions and having to take care of other people. You can’t give anything to others if you’re running on empty. So what will you do to keep yourself running on full?

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