CAPS: Coping Strategies for the Recent Election

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln community recognizes that, in the wake of the recent election, many feel deeply impacted by these events in our country. For the overall health of our community, the University Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services team created strategies to help you manage any feelings that may arise.

1.) Maintain your normal routine and engage in healthy activities that provide balance in your life. Try not to withdraw. Consider exercise—alone or with others—as a way to induce feelings of well-being.

2.) Practice acceptance. Try self-soothing strategies such as taking a walk, meditating, mindfulness exercises, listening to music or whatever you find helpful. Now is the time for you to take care of yourself.

3.) Practice reflection and pay attention to your early awareness signs. Allow time to reflect on your reactions, personal history and ways your values and well-being feel threatened. By watching your own reactions to stress, you can then address them. This might be a tightened throat, muscle tension, negative evaluations of the other person or an impulse to act out.

4.) Model healthy communication and seek community. This is an opportunity to show you can elevate conversations, take a higher path and engage in positive conversation. Sharing experiences and ideas with others can be a way to strengthen positive community values and shared identities. It may make you feel good about yourself, too! There are many groups on campus you may want to consider joining if you have not yet already done so.

5.) Limit your intake of news and social media. If you feel distressed by what’s in the media, temporarily limit your consumption of Facebook, Twitter and other social media as well as watching and reading the news. Helpful apps and websites, such as LeechBlock or SelfControl, can temporarily block your access to social media or certain websites.

6.) Be thankful. Jotting down 10 to 15 things you are grateful for, such as your health or your family, can help you maintain perspective. The list will remind you of what provides you strength and support.

7.) Acknowledge feelings. Reactions to events vary from person to person. Some experience intense feelings while others experience nothing at all. Allow yourself to feel what you feel and don’t judge your personal experience or the experience of others.

8.) Utilize your supports and resources. Many have a natural tendency toward isolation when feeling triggered or emotional. Reach out to those around you—family and friends—who may be experiencing similar feelings. Utilize support groups or other resources in your community.

9.) Get your sleep. Aside from breathing, eating and drinking, there is likely no more important function to our survival and well-being than sleep. Most of us need approximately eight hours of sleep a night to feel rested, relaxed and capable of meeting the next day’s challenges. During times of stress, quality sleep is even more important, so make it a priority by giving yourself permission to get your zzz’s. For helpful sleep tips, visit: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips

10). Be patient. Some people go through a crisis and think they should be “over it” within a week or two. The truth is, big events can take time to process, and feeling better can take a while as well. Know that if you’re not feeling back to yourself quickly, that is likely normal. On the other hand…

11). Seek counseling. If the event that distresses you impacts you in an ongoing way and affects your ability to function at school, home or in your day-to-day life, feel free to consult with one of the Counseling and Psychological Services therapists at the University Health Center. We are here to help you explore your concerns, develop positive coping strategies and get back to yourself again. Our services are confidential, and the first four sessions of your academic career are offered at no extra charge if you have paid student fees. For more information, visit: health.unl.edu/CAPS

 

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