5 ways to cope with socio-political stress
No matter your political beliefs, it’s safe to say that all Sri Lankans are currently living through a unique moment in our nation’s history. There is no denying that the past few months have brought daily headlines that have added to your stress and anxiety.
Here are 5 ways to manage this politically induced stress.
1. Be aware of how much time you spend engaging with political content.
The media we consume daily has an impact on our thinking, behavior, and emotions. While it is important to stay upto date with the local news, especially as it relates to the current socio-political situation of Sri Lanka, you need to be aware that consumption of the news can take a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health.
If you feel like it’s too much to handle, limit your consumption of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sources. This also includes watching and reading the news. If completely disengaging yourself from political content feels impossible, create limits for yourself. For instance, set a timer that allows you to engage with the news but reminds you to stop.
2. Be consistent with your routine and engage in healthy activities
Try to strike a balance between keeping up with current events and going about your daily life. Make time to take care of yourself because it can make a big difference during times of stress.
- Take breaks while working/studying.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Take on fewer commitments.
- Engage in spiritual or religious practices.
- Go for a walk.
3. Know your limits
You may feel distracted or not efficient enough as you may have too much on your usual to-do list. Keep in mind that you may not be able to work the same number of hours you used to or may not be as efficient as usual and might need more time or help to complete your tasks, and THAT’S FINE! You’re not a machine.
Make sure you plan accordingly, show yourself kindness, and ask for support when needed.
4. Find a community that supports healthy communication
Being a part of a community would create a sense of belonging, enabling you to share your problems and support the perpetual growth of each other. It also creates a space, whether physical or virtual, that gives each other the chance to be inspired, solve problems, share humour, vent frustrations and share achievements. So share your experiences and ideas regarding the current situation and be open to others’ points of view as well. Most importantly, check-in with one another and seek a community that will be there for each other during these challenging times.
5. Get professional help (if needed)
You might wonder, “I’ve tried all of this and what more can I do?”.
Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help you manage your stress better. Therapy can be helpful in the treatment of any anxiety, including political anxiety. A professional therapy or counselling environment can provide a safe and supportive space for you to process and understand your thoughts and feelings.
5 Ways to Manage Politically Induced Stress, Michigan health (2019).
Political Stress, UCSF (2022).
The Importance of Community, wellbeing people (2020).