If this election season feels like the Iron Man you didn’t sign up for, you’re not alone.
Rates of alcohol use during debates this year skyrocketed by as much as 700% compared to last election season, as people turned to booze to cope with the stress. The American Psychological Association has found that the election has been a significant source for stress for half of Americans this election season.
I’m seeing this in our practices too. Our patients are reporting insomnia and panic attacks after reading a typical day’s worth of election coverage.
It’s almost over. We’re nearly at the finish line. But sadly, the damage to our minds and bodies has already been done.
What can you do right now to detox from the election fear cycle we have all been subjected to for months?
- Limit how much election coverage you consume to an hour or two at the end of the day. More than that and you’re caught in a loop of repeated and unhelpful information. Cutting yourself off is the first step. The results will be the same whether you are glued to FiveThirtyEight or enjoying your day.
- Balance the election coverage you watch with at least 30 minutes of yoga or meditation. This will stimulate the Vagus nerves and parasympathetic nervous system, balancing the state of fight or flight the election appears to be inducing in many of us.
- Watch your self-medication. Notice if you’re drinking more alcohol or eating more sugar and carbs to deal with the stress. These might give you a temporary dopamine boost but will drop you as fast as we will drop the losing candidate in 24 hours.
- Dose with magnesium instead. Magnesium is nature’s anti-anxiety medication. It’s a natural mild calcium channel blocker that can help with sleep blood pressure and even irritability. We recommend 200mg-400mg of of magnesium glycinate at bedtime.
- Rest and recover after the election. Cortisol is our major stress hormone. It spikes blood sugar and blood pressure. We all get that second wind, usually after 11pm, which can lead to a disrupted poor quality sleep. If you can go to bed by 10.30pm each night – this subtle change can balance cortisol leading to calmer nerves and even a flatter waistline
- Get your diet back on track. If you’ve been medicating with sugar and booze for the past nine months now is probably a good time to do a detox and reset your system.
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