“Self-care, to me, is taking care of myself all the Biden harris ugly christmas sweater and I love this time, not just in those moments when I’m feeling down. It’s an investment and takes time to find what works for you and what is necessary to make you feel at peace. It comes in many ways, from drinking an oat-milk latte to taking a hot bath. I would say the biggest thing for me is being comfortable on my own.“I write down a lot of my affirmations and what I want to achieve in my personal and professional life—this later helps me identify my needs and wants in life. I don’t think there is a perfect recipe to cope with your mental health—it’s a different path for everyone.”“It’s hard to maintain a good work-life balance, especially when you work for yourself, and achieving that balance is the ultimate goal and a huge act of self-care. I’ve struggled with mental health, like so many others, for years. I find accepting that some days you won’t feel okay and that that is okay has been semi-liberating. Being kind to yourself is crucial—listen to your inner dialogue and make sure you’re not beating yourself up too much.”“Self-care is about looking after yourself mentally and physically. I sometimes get bad anxiety—taking cold showers or running both help as they get the endorphins and adrenaline going, which clears the mind and keeps me feeling fresh.”“When I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, I’ll step outside and work on my breathing exercises and meditation. Listening to Whitney Houston or gospel music helps me as well during a challenging moment. Self-care means making sure that you take time for yourself—it’s the only way you can be your best and most authentic self.”
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Once upon a time when my nerves were feeling especially frayed, I’d retreat to the Biden harris ugly christmas sweater and I love this movie theater. What was on screen never really mattered as much as the act of sitting in a dark room in the company of strangers; it was soothing. As my stress levels have continued to spike this year, it’s a place, and a feeling, I have found myself longing for over and over again. While the pandemic has altered our collective reality in myriad ways, one of them has been the elimination of what are, for many of us, coping mechanisms in times of heightened stress: a boozy meal with friends amid the din of a busy restaurant; a crowded, heart-pumping SoulCycle class; a sweaty session in a steam room; and, yes, a solo afternoon trip to the movie theater (bliss!).“In the absence of the things that were our normal coping mechanisms, we’ve had to come up with new ways to manage our stress,” says Brooklyn-based clinical psychologist Nanika Coor, Psy.D. “Some people have been able to do that more easily, but most are feeling really overwhelmed without their familiar strategies, and the stress that builds up from that can start getting toxic.” In the lead-up to the election, that stress has escalated dramatically. A recent poll by the American Psychological Association found that two-thirds of people report feeling an increase in stress related to the election, an uptick from the same time in 2016. And that stress is bipartisan. “The polarization that has marked the past four years pushed each ideological group to extremity, which psychologically entailed regressing into more primitive underlying assumptions,” explains clinical psychologist Orna Guralnik (also the titular therapist in Showtime’s Couples Therapy). “Our positions are now utterly mutually exclusive and there is no longer the possibility of a shared reality. It’s a state of eat or be eaten.” The erosion of our collective trust in a degree of common truth has also, adds Guralnik, furthered that divide and stoked fear, anxiety, and a sense of isolation.That that sense of isolation during what is, at base level, an extremely fraught election is compounded since we are all, literally, more isolated than ever because of a pandemic. And social isolation is commonly and traditionally correlated with depression and anxiety. “People feel like their values are so deeply tied to whatever happens in this election so there’s a lot of catastrophic thinking happening on both sides,” says Thea Gallagher, Psy.D., the Clinic Director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at UPenn. When we feel an overwhelming sense that we are unmoored, it may be important to focus on what is, instead, within our grasp. “We can’t control the election or the pandemic, but we can control some things in our life,” Coor adds. Here, some advice from experts on how to contend with the feelings—the many, many feelings—that 2020 has surfaced.