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Election Week: Use Food & Movement to Relieve Stress, Not Increase It

With anxiety around the election running high, I wanted to offer some suggestions to help you get through this week or at least blunt some of the negative effects of the accompanying stress: 

Nourish yourself - You may not be eating perfectly balanced meals right now. You may be eating to self soothe or opting for the convenience of ordering in this week. That’s ok. If it brings you relief during an unusually stressful time and it helps to make sure you keep your energy levels up by eating enough, you’re doing well. Your appetite and food preferences will return to normal once the stress has passed. 

Practice gentle movement - Walking is an effective way to relieve stress immediately. It can help you feel refreshed, less irritable and a little more in-control in out-of-your-control situations. If you are able to walk near an ocean, lake, mountain, forest or any other source of nature, this will have even further stress-reducing effects. Gentle stretching and restorative yoga are some other good options to move in a way that soothes and calms your nervous system.

Rest - if you tend to push yourself and carry on as if things are normal even during the most stressful not-normal times, please consider dialing back your activities and responsibilities. Your self-care this week may call for a complete break from structured exercise, checking the news and social media less (or not at all), canceling or rescheduling non-urgent appointments and meetings and/or taking time off to process your thoughts and emotions (with the help of a therapist and/or through journaling on your own) and recharging your batteries. 

It’s ok to do less right now. You are doing the best you can with the resources of time, energy, attention, health and finances that are available to you while living through a pandemic and a high stakes election. Take a deep breath and be assured that it’s good enough.

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