This is a news-filled week, and also a hard one, filled with uncertainty and emotion, no matter which side of the political divide you’re on. Here are some resources to help manage the stress, as you keep up with the news.
With everything happening around us, it may be difficult to find that piece of calm. If your mind races, if you feel annoyed: That’s normal. But sometimes, even under normal circumstances, you just need a minute to inhale and exhale. Kapil Nayar, a counselor and mindfulness expert who grew up in Moorestown, recommends trying breathing exercises for two to five minutes and see how you feel; the best length depends on the person. Some may feel benefits in only two minutes; others may need more time.
Try this one: Deep breathing.
Lie down on the floor. Place a book on your stomach. Now breathe deeply and focus on lifting the book. Try this three times, and when you’re able, build up to five times. Make it a goal to reach seven times. Pace yourself as needed. If you feel dizzy, don’t push it.
Use this gif to help you visualize the exercise:
— Cassie Owens
» READ MORE: These breathing exercises will help you relax
Donate to an organization you care about.
What did you really vote for this year? What issues matter to you most? If there was a candidate out there campaigning to bring change on a topic you care about, it’s guaranteed that there are countless other organizations working on it, too. Show your support by contributing to their efforts. Use today to do the research that perhaps you’ve been putting off. Which grassroots organizations can you get behind? Are there other ways you can volunteer in the future? Make a plan to keep the momentum of civic engagement going beyond Election Day.
— Grace Dickinson
Take a break from the news.
Start with this video to help you relax:
— Astrid Rodrigues and Cynthia Greer
Read some happy news.
Remember, while the election is dominating the news cycle right now around the world, there are still stories of resilience, success, community strength, and people doing good work. If you need a place to start, check out our section The Upside.
Listen to some soothing music
You’ve heard the piece Spiegel im Spiegel in countless movies — and in a couch scene from The Simpsons. Let the full 11 minutes of Arvo Pärt’s calming work take you away to blissland. It’s the world’s most soothing work of classical music; here’s what to listen for as it unspools.
— Peter Dobrin
Find help if you need it.
If your stress level is worrying you, it’s important to know: There’s help when you need it, and there is no shame in reaching out. There are so many places that are offering free or low-cost support. And, you don’t have to leave your house to use it. These are just a few places where you can turn for help.
Pennsylvania Support and Referral Helpline: If you’re feeling scared, overwhelmed, or anxious, there are community-based resources available if you live in Pennsylvania at 1-855-284-2492.
Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support for anyone in any kind of crisis. Text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. “We are here for people of all ages who are in a mental or emotional state that has left them in a dangerous condition or unable to cope in a functional or productive way, or feeling any level of anxiety. Crisis Counselors complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time Crisis Text Line mental health professionals.”
Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services: If you’re experiencing depression, feelings or thoughts of harming yourself or others, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or that no one cares about you, difficulty dealing with stress or anger, other mental health issues, call 215-686-4420. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The group also operates a Mental Health Delegate line if you’re looking for information, consultation, guidance, technical advice, and referral for yourself or somebody else.
Philadelphia Warm-line. If you are feeling lonely or isolated, you can talk with caring and friendly peers who have been trained to help. “Sometimes it helps to talk to a person who understands firsthand what you are going through.” The Warm-line is available Monday to Friday 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at 1-855-507-9276 or 1-855-507-3945
— Marc Narducci and Bethany Ao