Tag Archives: help

How to Cope with Election Results

Traveling under series of arches

Stress and anxiety are normal

During an election year, stress and anxiety can be expected. Particularly when you have strong feelings about one of the candidates or a certain issue, an election can seem all-consuming.

Once an election results ends, you may be stressed about what’s going to come next or how your friends will react if you voted for different parties or candidates.

Everyone deals with stress differently. The important thing is for you to identify healthy ways to address election results and move forward.

Understand that you are not alone

Election campaigns, election events, and post-election updates have put people on edge. One study found that 38% of people reported that they lost sleep over the 2020 U.S. presidential election and 25% of people felt rage when they thought about the election.

To deal with election-related problems, it might help to remember that they impact many people and that you’re not alone. You don’t have to feel as though something is wrong simply because you’re upset.

There has been a lot of unrest over the election and other issues in the United States. There are least two sides in an election – and everyone feels as though they are on the right side. Some people will get angry or upset when others do not agree with them. While this might not be pleasant, it is normal.

You can identify yourself as passionate. That is fine unless you let your passion blind you to alternatives, or if your passion leads you to compromise your honesty and integrity. Or, you can identify yourself as empathetic. As you start to understand and share the feelings of others, it’s easier to see the similarities and differences that you have.

Many highly empathic people learn to use their skills for good. You can start conversations to understand more about people. Remember to listen and state your views, but don’t argue. With empathy, you may be able to inspire change, allowing you to feel as though you have more control over what’s happening in the world around you.

Learn how to process stress

When elections seem to be taking their toll, remember that there are healthy ways to cope with stress. Try to identify what you’re experiencing, whether it’s stress, disbelief, shock, helplessness, other emotions, or a combination of these. Know that physical and emotional symptoms can be stressful on your body.

Practicing self-care is of the utmost importance. Think about what you can do to help yourself. You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and take breaks.

Particularly when it comes to election stress, the media can be your worst enemy. Try avoiding the news for a bit if it’s bothering you. If you feel that you absolutely need an update, limit yourself to 10 or 15 minutes of news.

It’s also a good idea to unplug from social media for a while. Give yourself a break of a few days or a week. When you’re not constantly dealing with your friends’ arguing over issues and candidates, you might find it easier to relax.

If you continue to feel stressed and worried, it may be time to talk to someone. Start by talking to friends and family about your feelings. If needed, discuss the problems with a psychologist or other trusted professional.

Similarly, if you’re dealing with election-related stress by using alcohol or drugs, seek help at drug or inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers. Professionals at those facilities can treat addictions as well as stress, depression, anxiety, and other factors that could contribute to addictions.

One of the most important aspects of managing stress is knowing when you’re at a breaking point. There’s no need to burn out simply because an election didn’t go in your favor. You cannot stress on things that are out of your control.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that there are other things that you can change. If you’re still struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Identify your behaviors

You might tend to isolate yourself and feel sad.  Or you might reach out with more anger and irritability that makes other people uncomfortable. Either way, it makes it harder to get the support you need.

It’s easy to become addicted without realizing it. You may pour a drink as a way to relax. Maybe you went through half of the bottle before you knew it, because you still weren’t able to relax. This might happen night after night, and before you’ve fully comprehended it, you’ve developed a drinking problem.

Alcohol and drugs are unhealthy ways of numbing pain, though.

If you find that you’ve developed problematic behaviors, work to stop them. If you encounter setbacks or withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop, it’s important to know that there is help available, including online resources for recovery or addiction.

The sooner you identify unhealthy behaviors, the sooner you can get them under control. Although election results might trouble you, they shouldn’t consume your entire life. It is OK to step back and watch things unfold.

Focus on what you can control

There are plenty of things that you can do to gain control of your life. If you’re stressed about election results, think about what you can do locally:

  • Join a group so that you can talk about politics with others who have similar views or debate others with different perspectives.
  • March for your rights to ensure your voice is heard.
  • Volunteer for causes you find important.

When you’re able to build support systems and find outlets for your emotions, it can be easier to manage stress in all aspects of your life. Remember that you’re not alone and that others are willing to help.

Sources:

prnewswire.com – Mental Health Survey: Rage, Election Worries and Covid-19 Fears Plague Americans

greatergood.berkeley.edu – Six Habits of Highly Empathic People

cdc.gov – Coping with Stress

Blog # 23 added 12-14-20 by guest author Patrick Bailey (with minor edits by Mary Knutson).

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Website / Blog URL: http://patrickbaileys.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pat_Bailey80

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-bailey-writer

6 Ways People in Recovery Can Deal with Isolation

Woman leaning on door looking outside

Why is it  important for people in recovery to find resources and stay connected to others?  Because addiction thrives on isolation.  And, you need to find ways to cope.  The loneliness and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can worsen substance addiction and make relapse more likely.  During uncertain times, people may feel mentally and even physically vulnerable. With less access to support and services, they are at the highest risk.

What does it mean to be in recovery during times of isolation? How do you attend support group meetings? How can you talk to a lawyer? How can you meet with a therapist?

Here are six ways people in recovery can not only survive, but even thrive, during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus ID  19) pandemic:

Seek online mental health treatment

Recovery is a life-long journey. You will need help along the way, often includes seeking therapy. With the special safety regulations during COVID-19, most mental health practitioners have gone online. That would help you to continue therapy with a reliable internet connection, or perhaps by phone. There are many surprisingly affordable options out there.

Use a coping plan

You know that—pandemic or not—there will be ups and downs in your recovery journey. Having a coping plan can help you to deal with anxiety, depression, or addictions, whether or not they are related to COVID-19. If you know what your emotional triggers are, you can plan ahead to identify what helps (and what hinders) those challenging situations. Look at your ways of coping because they could be healthy or unhealthy ways of dealing with it.

Stay busy with work or volunteering

People may be at higher risk for relapse when they are unemployed. Recent studies found that unfavorable employment changes were increased alcohol intake among former heavy drinkers. Many businesses have closed and many people lost their jobs during this pandemic. If you are one of them, continue to look for work—in any meaningful way. Apply for jobs, take online training courses, or volunteer your time. Staying busy can keep you motivated to stay sober.

Find ways to stay accountable

Due to staff cuts and layoffs, some organizations are no longer offering frequent monitoring and testing for people in addiction recovery. That means that some accountability methods might be missing. If you think it is important to be drug tested regularly, you can purchase drug tests, and ask a friend or sponsor to help administer them. Since addiction prefers a cloud of secrecy, shed some light on your journey by using other trusted connections and adding ways of staying accountable.

Recognize the symptoms of isolation

Isolation is a depth of loneliness. We may actually be unaware of how it affects us. We may notice an overwhelming or occasional sense of sadness, but there are many other signs we often miss. When isolation is starting to impact you physically, you may have trouble sleeping, and lapse into unhealthy routines. Some research even showed that people in isolation are also at a higher risk for heart disease or a stroke.  Emotionally, isolation can cause you to struggle with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. This puts people in recovery at a greater risk for relapse.

Meet online with others in recovery

Without the in-person support of other people in addiction recovery, people may feel like they have nowhere to turn when they need help to avoid relapse. In many cases, you could meet with support groups, lawyers, health care providers or therapists using apps such as Zoom, if needed. There’s a good chance the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) group you attended is already meeting online. Find out if it is. If it isn’t having meetings, do a Google search for other online AA meetings in your area. Many churches and community centers are providing digital space for meetings.  And some websites include online communities. If you seek a supportive community group, ask your counselor or provider to recommend a reputable website. Resist the urge to quickly give information about your identity and location to people you meet online.

With every day in quarantine, the risk of isolation increases. Try out some of the ideas above, or find some additional resources. You can learn how to cope by grounding yourself in this time of disruption and distress. Health Vista has many health resources you can use to guide your recovery, as well as books for managing pain, anxiety, anger, depression, mental illness, and addiction.

Now that you know the challenge that you are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use your time wisely to find and use the resources you need for support and information.  Then, you will be able to cope better and have a more successful recovery during times of isolation.

Blog #22  Posted 12-2-20.  Written  by Dylan Wallace (with edits and additions by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.)

 

 

A Great Way to Plan Ahead: Use a Coping Plan!

Thoughtful woman looking toward a bright path

Your path ahead looks uncertain, and it will be full of ups and downs.  Most people struggle with how to cope when their emotions may tend to get out of control.

What is a Coping Plan?

I would like to share a simple worksheet that was developed to help with that.  It will guide you to put some thought into what “triggers” you, and what warning signs would be seen by others when you are upset.

It also helps you explore what is helpful and what is not helpful if you feel like you are losing control.   The Coping plan can be shared with others, so they understand more about you and your needs. And, you will be able to be more prepared  for successful coping if you plan ahead.

How to Use a Coping Plan

Please go to to my Coping Plan webpage to read more about using the worksheet and about Trauma-Informed Care.  It was developed to help prevent people from being re-traumatized because of the reactions of others to their behaviors. To summarize:

Trauma can shape people’s mental, emotional, spiritual
and physical well-being.  Nearly every
family is impacted in some way.  Instead of asking “what is wrong with you?” ask “what has happened to you?” Reduce the blame and shame that some people feel. Build understanding of how the past impacts the present and help you progress
toward healing and recovery

The original link used for the information above was:

WI Dept. of Health Services. (2012). Wisconsin State Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
Educational and Media Campaign. Retrieved 7-15-12 from
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh_bcmh/tic/index.htm 

A current link for more information about Trauma-Informed Care is https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/resilient/trauma-informed-practices.htm

You will probably also learn that your behaviors are not so different than many other people who we interacted with as we developed the worksheet.

The coping plan worksheet is available here >>>

Find successful ways to cope

My goal is to help people who are struggling with anxiety, anger, depression, addiction, or other behavior problems to cope better.  There are lots of ideas on the worksheet!

Share your coping plan with people around you

Allow  family, friends, and community be able to help you more.   Things usually seem easier when they are discussed ahead of time and they know what to expect.  Stronger relationships can happen with better coping.

Hopefully,  life’s path will look brighter as you feel more prepared and in control.  I hope this information is helpful to you!

 

Blog Post # 20  written 6-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Videos to Help Teens Cope

Flower garden planted in old shoes

How to help you cope with stress:

Stress and anxiety are common emotions for teenagers. Sometimes what you need to distract yourself from what is bothering you.   The  following  list of Youtube.com videos is meant to help teens cope with stress in a positive way.

Check out the Ways of Coping Video List to help you to relax, heal, or be more mindful. Try to watch them all and see how they make you feel.  Then, choose the best ones to watch as often as you want to:

Videos for teens:

Succeed with a Positive Attitude                       1:00 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvtUByxnrGU

The Pandas: Belly of the Whale                          5:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWTFKihlhLQ

20 Words to Change Your Life                           4.29 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLZxJZ70MQ4

K’NAAN Wavin’ Flag Celebration Mix               3:75 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJSt4wP2ME

The Interlude Dance (Original)                           3:52 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cuS_31zJ6U

The Gratitude Dance (Original)                          3:25 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9z2ELaBVJY

What is Mindfulness?                                           1:59 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnB5i0ToUc

Stress – Let Go & Be in Flow of Life                   3:08 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMGOuHwfnFQ

Forgiveness & Freedom of Letting Go              4:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4VMZb8wLY

I Am Grateful                                                           4:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtoGY6zMXGM

Inspirational Video: Don’t Quit Poem              2:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkCFeNeqyHk

Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir –Lux Arumque     6:20 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

Relax – Zen Garden Kokin Gumi                                    7:09 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8

Yiruma – River Flows in You                                          3:08      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ

Enjoy the videos!

 

Blog #3  10-28-15 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-27-20

 

Videos to Help You Cope

cat in windowsill

How to help you cope with stress:

Stress and anxiety are common emotions for everyone. Sometimes what you need to distract yourself from what is bothering you.   The  following  list of Youtube.com videos is meant to help you cope with stress in a positive way.

Check out the Ways of Coping Videos List to help you to relax, heal, or be more mindful. Try to watch them all and see how they make you feel.  Then, choose the best ones to watch as often as you want to:

Videos to watch:

Ten Tips for Stress Management                       2:14 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOpZU320v5E

Succeed with a Positive Attitude                       1:00 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvtUByxnrGU

42 Ways to Celebrate and Enjoy Life                5:10 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBqsWDaUdHM

Believe in Yourself                                                  3:42 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdpHaKkbmGk

K’NAAN Wavin’ Flag Celebration Mix               3:75 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJSt4wP2ME

There is Hope (Meditation)                                 3:31 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7EuSeRBMnk

What is Mindfulness?                                           1:59 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCnB5i0ToUc

Stress – Let Go & Be in Flow of Life                   3:08 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMGOuHwfnFQ

Forgiveness & Freedom of Letting Go              4:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4VMZb8wLY

I Am Grateful                                                           4:11 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtoGY6zMXGM

Inspirational Video: Don’t Quit Poem              2:02 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkCFeNeqyHk

Relax – Zen Garden Kokin Gumi                                    7:09 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8

Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir – Lux Arumque     6:20 min       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

Yiruma – River Flows in You                                  3:08     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTjI75uEUQ

Enjoy these videos!

 

Blog #2 10-28-15 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN  of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-27-20

(Next  – Blog #3 will be inspirational videos for teens)

Resources for Recovery

Recovery Resources:

Many of the recovery resources were written while working with psychiatric patients. However, they were made to be helpful for recovery from other kinds of illness, or for general wellness or well-being.

Many presentations and learning activities are shared in Health Vista’s resources for recovery.  They are organized under the seven elements of recovery, the same framework used for Recovery Education lessons.

Elements of Recovery:

  • Hope
  • Security
  • Support/Managing Symptoms
  • Empowerment
  • Relationships
  • Coping
  • Finding Meaning

Find resources for recovery from Health Vista

When I was working in Inpatient Behavioral Health, I started developing and writing simple but engaging and effective patient education and learning activities.

Through the years, I also collected a wide variety of free resources for recovery include Powerpoints and many other links for health education and motivation. I wanted to make them available for others to use. Although not all of the Recovery Education lessons are posted online, many of them are.  More may be added in the future, so check back often. Here are some examples:

You can find the Hopelessness to Hope Lesson handout here.

Click to see the Finding Hope Pathfinder. That recovery lesson was made into a video YouTube to help you toward the first step to recovery.  You can also use the Positive Words Discussion Guide.

Finding Hope Pathfinder narrated video

Click the title to watch  Finding Your Way to Recovery

Recovery Workbooks:

I wrote many simple, clear, and short workbooks to share. I have donated some to community groups, but the cost of printing is too high to make them all free.  The workbooks have a cost, but they are on the healthvista.net website. Topics include Managing Pain,  Managing Long-term Pain, Managing Depression,  Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Managing Illness, Managing Mental Illness, and Coping with Trauma.

Contact me by e-mail if you want to ask if some prices can be changed.  The following coping workbook is available free of charge:

Your Recovery Workbook: Coping and Relaxation  [.pdf] can be downloaded free and printed out. 

As you will see, my website contains many free, but very valuable resources,  Please browse and explore the lessons, handouts, learning activities, and links at https://healthvista.net/health-resources/recovery-resources/

I suggest that you start by Exploring Mindfulness . Then, begin  Taking Recovery Steps:

  • Ups and downs are to be expected – It is best to handle them as calmly as possible, using help and support to get back on track
  • Take small steps – You will get to where you are going (no matter how long it takes) if you go in the right direction
  • You feel more in control when you take the recovery steps at your own pace
  • In life, there is always hope, but sometimes you have to change what you are hoping for.
  • Be open to learning and change as you start your recovery journey

“I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”  – Charles F. Kettering

Updated 5-27-20 by Mary Knutson