When it comes to the current political and social terrain, everyone agrees it’s like a bad case of vertigo. At some point, you’ll discover the Breaking News hang over. You’ll declare it’s time to engage some form of ballast to prevent yourself from getting swept away with every tsunami. It feels like we aren’t allowed to recover from a previous informational shockwave and we are getting hit with the next “almost unbelievable” revelation. At present, we are getting layered with daily compounding stress and trauma. Everything from human rights marches, water protecting, presidential satires, immigration contentions to unveiled conspiracy and corruption. Now add a second helping of Fukashima Cesium 137 radiation and we have the cherry on top of the daily disasters. Before you become the next piece of collateral damage from the daily barrage on your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being…STOP!
1. Stay centered
Reserve time to reflect on your personal social and political values. If you find yourself needing to change your personal position on something; do it. You’re allowed to change your mind at any time. Knowing that there are some politicians out there that change their views on the daily should release you from any anxiety from taking a firm stance from your personal philosophy. You’ll want to have some certainty about your core beliefs before jumping back into the tempest to get tossed around by a rogue wave between views.
2. Know that there is empowerment with action
Work toward a solution within your own community. Do some research on what initiatives are underway that match your values. No matter how small an action, know many small actions amount to big change. Take a small piece to the very large puzzle. This is a great way to engage and contribute without getting overwhelmed and burnt out. Many hands make work light. Determine what you are most passionate about and seek out the like-minded folks focused on solutions. You may be inspired to start your own initiative toward a better world.
3. Periodically disengage
Give yourself a time limit to keep informed, for instance, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. If you’re the type to get glued to media for hours, set a timer and adhere to it. Be kind to yourself and don’t engage in the information mayhem before bed. You clearly want to prevent your mind from reeling and creating a perfect trifecta: fear, anger, and sleep deprivation. Keep a lid on high intensity topics at work and out socially unless it is within the context of a solutions think tank. The days of singing “Isn’t it awful” are over so commit to discarding any notion of an arcane construct that contributes to being stuck in the current state. Giving yourself some breathing room on topics will support a rational perspective.
4. Have a daily stress management practice
Walk/exercise, meditate/pray, laugh, and spend time face to face with friends…whatever gets you to higher ground. We are not made of steel and we are not meant to absorb this much information and vicarious distress. A balanced self-care practice can offset what you’re being exposed to.
5. Remind yourself that we are all part of one global humanity
As nurses, we know we are facilitators of healing, protectors, and advocates. We also know that anyone who has passed the NCLEX is capable of remarkable critical thinking. This is what needs to be elevated to the forefront now. Realize that we are being presented with another vitally important opportunity to put our extraordinary presence to practice for the betterment of all.