How to deal with stress from social change

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Do you ever find yourself glued to the news or social media? Are you having difficulty sleeping? Are you preoccupied with fears about what may or may not happen in the near future? Change is challenging especially when thousands or even millions of people are experiencing that change at the same time. Social change can often create feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and even anger. Though these feelings are normal responses to social change, they can lead to more serious and mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety if we don’t take a few moments to engage in some self-care. So, here are a few tips on how to manage your well-being during times of social change. Tip number one, take a social media vacation.

Staying informed is important but it can also lead to feeling overwhelmed by the fast-paced delivery of news especially through social media. Turning off your social media notifications for a day can give your mind and body the time it needs to digest the information it has been receiving and an opportunity to rest. Tip number two, give yourself a screen curfew. It’s tempting to watch the news or check your Twitter feed right up to bedtime but this can lead to poor sleep. Try turning off your screens an hour before bed and not turning them back on for an hour after you wake up in the morning. Replace this time with music or a good book to keep yourself balanced and relaxed. Tip number three, create something. Social change often inspires people to use their voices. Look for ways to use your voice as an outlet.

Write a blog, paint, or dance. Find a way to express how you are feeling using a creative outlet that suits you. Tip number four, move your body. Walking, jogging, hiking, yoga, and other forms of physical movement and exercise can release tension and anxiety associated with feelings of uncertainty. Plus, they offer the added bonus of maintaining good physical health. Tip number five, reconnect with nature. Visiting a park or a hiking trail can be grounding and reminds us to focus on the present instead of future worry. It also gives us time to clear our thoughts and reconnect to what’s important. Yes, social change can be challenging. But it helps to remember that you are not alone. If you’re having difficulty adjusting to social changes, contact a professional who can help and provide additional support and resources. And remember, without well-being, there is no academic success.

 

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