Election Stress Toolkit
Brought to you by the Center for Wellness & Wellbeing at Santa Monica College
Limit your consumption of social media and the 24-hour non-stop images. It’s important to stay informed, but creating boundaries is important.
Stay informed, but know your limits:
- Monitor how you feel after news consumption. Feeling preoccupied or even upset by national events may be a sign to cut back on your news intake and limit social media discussions.
- Consider scheduling a short block of time in the morning and one in the evening to catch up on news without checking for every new update during the day.
- During “digital breaks,” take time to focus on something enjoyable, such as a hobby, exercising, being in nature or spending time with family and friends.
Check out this video on "How to cope with election season stress" for some more tips for “unplugging” during a stressful election time.
Use reflection to recognize your inner thoughts and feelings. Be curious and non- judgmental and give yourself permission to feel the way you do. Although avoiding can be useful, “stuffing” or ignoring strong emotions can have negative impacts.
Consider practicing self-compassion as you work through challenging or uncertain times. Try some of Guided Meditations exercises compiled by Dr. Kristin Neff, a renowned researcher of self-compassion.
Grab your phone and your earbuds and head outside for a guided mindful walk to de- stress
This MyLife YouTube channel offers introductory videos to mindfulness
Self-soothing is a quick and effective way to reduce the intensity of negative emotions.
- Sight: Low lighting, Soothing colors, Sleeping masks, Coloring books, Pinterest collages
- Touch: Soft things, Cuddle things, Massage, Hot/cold shower, Heated/weighted blanket
- Sound: Calming noise, ASMR videos, Nature sounds, Guided meditations, Binaural beats
- Smell: Aromatherapy, Fresh Air, Candles/incense, Comforting smells
- Taste: Strong flavors, Warm drinks, Eat slowly, Nostalgic flavors
- Insight Timer
- Simple Habit
- 10% Happier
This Youtube channel offers introductory videos to mindfulness and guided meditations
Research indicates that meditation has a positive effect on overall wellbeing and stress reduction.
Join us every Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a guided mindfulness meditation on Zoom!
Meeting ID 959 5898 7677
Grounding strategies can help us get in touch with our bodies and surroundings in the present moment. Pause what you are doing and pay attention to what you can see, hear, smell, and touch in your environment.
Focus on restoring yourself with rest and healthy food. Drink water and try to limit caffeine. Move a little every day. Take a walk; look at the sky; be in nature. Journal or meditate. Make art or watch funny videos. Read something fun.
Balance: A national election during COVID? Focusing on your well-being is more important than ever! Trying to keep a balance in most areas of your life will help you roll through challenging days more smoothly and keep you on the road to wellness!
Sleep: Is your sleep schedule irregular? Are you sleeping more than you want to be? Are you having trouble falling asleep? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," you may benefit from these sleep hygiene tips and resources! More info at Sleep Foundation.
Eating and Nutrition:
- For tips, guidelines, and health information, this is a great resource on Health Eating!
- And from Student Health Services, here’s a helpful nutrition resource!
You can also check out the Santa Monica College Food Security Programs.
Exercise: There are a ton of free home workouts!
Check out these helpful Exercise/Fitness resources for ideas to help you maintain a consistent exercise routine
Engage with supportive friends and allies. Talk about current issues, if needed, but
be aware of when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Not everyone will share your perspective, so it’s OK to limit your topics and avoid heated conflict. Reach out to supportive services on- campus, including the Center for Wellness & Wellbeing.
Five ways to build stronger connections:
- Write a letter
- Pick up the phone and call
- Ask meaningful questions
- Answer questions with honesty
- Connect via video
(From Compass, Robert Reffkin, Founder and CEO)
- To decrease loneliness, stress, depression, and anxiety
- To acknowledge collective trauma and experience solidarity
- To experiencing love and belonging
- To give and receive care and compassion
Connecting… Connecting… Connecting….
Zoom fatigue is real, but sometimes it’s our only option. So how do we connect without MORE stress? Try these tips:
- Establish “no screen” blocks of time in your day – times when you don’t have classes, meetings, etc. (See “UNPLUG” above)
- While turning off your camera during class can be a relief, make sure you don’t do it all the time. Leaving your camera on, even if you can only see your instructor and one other brave student, can help you feel connected and more focused on
- Avoid multi-tasking. Even though it can be tempting to use more than one device at a time or check emails and respond to texts while Zooming, focusing on the content of the meeting will actually give your brain a break! And we all need a bit more peace and focus right now!
Ideas for Connecting Virtually
- Zoom dance party
- Netflix Party
- TikTok Challenges
- Virtual group workouts
- Amazing support groups for EVERYONE and all topics!
- Virtual book clubs
- Virtual karaoke on Google Hangouts
Spirituality can be one way to connect with yourself, others, nature, or a higher power(s).
Channel what you’re feeling into positive, meaningful activity. Be informed and proactive around issues that matter to you. Find ways to engage in your community through advocacy in ways that fit for you.
It can be challenging to stay motivated when everything around us seems chaotic and scary. But doing something – some action, no matter how small – can lessen some of the uncertainty.
What you do doesn’t need to be political – taking a step to stand up for or stand in for a person or a cause or the environment means we’re not powerless. Check out the ideas on this page!
Activism, service and generosity are a few ways to promote a sense of empowerment and contribution when we may be feeling helpless.
Want to have a voice in local or national politics? For ideas, visit 25 ways to be politically active (whether you lean left or right).
Learn about Vision Boards
Lean on your strengths. Knowing your strengths can help you address problems more effectively and engage in activities that generate confidence and purpose.
Try taking the VIA Character VIA Character Strengths Survey to identify your strongest traits.
Connect with Your Values
Identifying what is important to us can be one way to foster motivation. Try one of the values card sorts below and then consider how you can express your values on a daily basis.
- Think about what makes you feel whole, grounded, or like you.
- It can be helpful to consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
- Physiological needs (air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction)
- Safety needs (personal security, employment, resources, health, property)
- Love and Belonging (friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection)
- Esteem (respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom)
- Self-actualization (desire to become the most that one can be)