Category Archives: depression

Depression Is:

Depression Is:
Emotional: Your baseline enjoyment of life decreases. In other words, you start constantly feeling a sense of suffering, or emotional pain, for no clear reason. Your are more negatively impacted by set-backs, and find it harder to enjoy the things that bring you pleasure and joy.

Physical : You have less energy. Just about anything feels like a tiresome undertaking, and you often feel like just lying down and doing nothing. It may seem impossible to do the smallest of tasks. Getting out of bed, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, cleaning up, or checking your email can feel like Herculean tasks.

Mental: Your thinking becomes distorted and negative. Your self esteem decreases, so that you feel worthless. Thinking and concentraing becomes harder, as if trying to see something through a fog. It’s hard to imagine things becoming better, or to form a positive idea of the future in general. You have a variety of intrusive negative thoughts; these thoughts can happen regardless of however much you believe or agree with their content.

Additional resources:

What Not to Say to Someone with Depression.

National Emergency Helpline

 

Anxiety is Bone Tiring Exhaustion

Anxiety and exhaustion go hand-in-hand.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, or apprehension. It can be brought on by a stressful event or by the way you think about an event. Sometimes people feel anxious even when there doesn’t seem to be an external trigger at all.

When you perceive a threat, your hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands release a torrent of hormones to prepare you to fight, flee, or freeze. In response, you might feel any or all of these physical symptoms:

  • shaking
  • quickened heart rate
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • dry mouth
  • muscle tension
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Reasons for Anxiety Fatigue

  • Post-Anxiety Crash
    One reason has to do with the crash you feel after your adrenaline runs out. The name for this phenomenon is adrenal fatigue. Anxiety is like being on high alert. Your body is preparing you to fight or flee; and so it is flooded with energy so that you can respond to a threat. Then, when that adrenaline runs its course, your body goes through a crash that can leave you feeling drained.
  • Muscle Tension
    Anxiety causes profound muscle tension throughout the day, and this often results in a similar drained feeling: your body feels tired. Many people who are anxious clench their jaw in their sleep, waking with headaches and facial pain.
  • Mental Tiredness
    Some of that tiredness is mental simply because your brain can run out of strength. Anxiety is linked to ongoing, stressful thoughts and an overactive brain. It taxes your cognitive capacities, leading to a drain on your ability to think and react. It also increases your emotional load, which means you can end up emotionally and mentally drained.
  • Coping
    Becoming tired is sometimes a coping mechanism that your body uses to prevent you from experiencing severe stress. Tiredness motivates you to take a break and rest rather than exposing yourself to more anxiety, which could become even more overwhelming. Fatigue is an attempt by the body to reset itself.
  • Naps
    Napping can help you overcome fatigue and reduce anxiety, making it a useful habit in many ways. But too much napping makes it harder to sleep at night, which in turn may increase your anxiety. Naps should ideally last less than 20-30 minutes to avoid sleep difficulties at night.
  • Sleep Issues
    Many people with stress and anxiety also develop serious problems sleeping, for instance, difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal waking, and reduced quality of sleep. All of this contributes to an overall lack of sleep, which causes tiredness.
  • Depression
    Finally, anxiety can cause depression. Depression is linked to a huge loss of energy; and that makes it extremely hard to stay alert throughout the day.
  • See also: Seven Subtle Signs of an Anxiety Disorder.

How to Manage Anxiety Fatigue

  • Sleep
    Protect your sleep fiercely: a cool, quiet, dark sleeping space, a regular bedtime, limited naps, and relaxation techniques are key, along with curbing your caffeine and powering down your screens an hour before bed. Even if you don’t get the ‘ideal’ amount of sleep each night, keep it consistent. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.
  • Get regular exercise
    Exercise reduces anxiety sensitivity and promotes healthy and restorative sleep.
  • Meditate
    Relaxation techniques like meditation and mindfulness can help quiet your mind, regulate your breathing, and lower the amount of stress hormones in your bloodstream.
  • Pacing
    Balance and allocate energy to the highest priority tasks can help cope with limited energy. Learning to pace ourselves and to manage our energy can be frustrating; it’s difficult when we don’t have the energy to do the things that we want or need to do. But it is an essential part of managing anxiety without burning out.
  • Nutrition
    Whole, unprocessed foods, such as lean proteins, fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, and complex carbs, can give you sustained energy. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar are associated with higher anxiety levels.
  • Therapy
    A psychologist or counselor may be able to help you identify your anxiety triggers and develop coping skills that lead to less anxiety and greater relaxation.
  • Medication
    Talk to your healthcare provider or mental health counselor about whether symptoms may benefit from treatment with anti-anxiety medication.

Depression in the Workplace

Last year, I had the opportunity to teach a seminar to the upper level management of a large East Coast restaurant company, on mental health in the workplace. More and more, it has become imperative for employers to address mental health problems in the workplace. One in five adults experience depression during their lifetime. And yet, a distinct stigma still exists around the topic, especially in the workplace. Employees may be hesitant to speak up about mental health issues for fear of being unfairly judged, or worries that it may lead to a reduction in job status, loss of future opportunities or even termination.

The World Health Organization lists depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Calling in sick to work because of depression is a common occurrence. In fact there’s been an uptick in depression in the workplace since the pandemic. Many people are struggling to meet their deadlines, not logging on, skipping meetings, struggling with technology glitches, and the added stress of distractions and responsibilities in the household.

But beyond the negative personal impacts that stress, anxiety, or depression can cause, it can actually take a toll on the business itself. Depressed, anxious, stressed, sleep-deprived, or substance using workers can be unproductive, forgetful, and accident-prone. If it’s a service organization, they may not be able to work effectively with customers or they may call out more, which can interfere with scheduling and productivity.

Signs of Workplace Depression
Depression in the workplace can be invisible and go undetected. However, there are noticeable signs that could initiate a conversation. Perhaps you’ve noticed a colleague who’s been keeping to themselves lately, or an employee who’s been coming late to meetings or missing them entirely. Other signs include becoming easily frustrated, irritable, or overwhelmed.

Tips for Supervisors:
*Be a listener and sounding board.
Managers/supervisors should create opportunities for confidential, nonjudgmental conversations, like weekly or biweekly one-on-ones, where they can openly ask the individual what’s going on and how they can help, while assuring them it’s a safe place to chat. While some people may not open up to their supervisors for fear of judgement and job security, kindness from a manager could shift the trajectory of someone’s day.

*Maintain an open-ended conversation
Employees should feel supported by their colleagues and bosses, especially during personal hardships. These should be ongoing conversations. Offering a book, or sharing an article or mental health website are also indirect helpful ways to maintain a conversation.

*Provide effective mental health resources at work
Now’s the time to review what mental health resources are available at your company, regardless of whether you’re employed at a large corporation or a small local business.

Every organization needs to look at itself. Are there regular educational seminars or information being made available online or in pamphlets, guest speaker events or trainings, or other ways employees can get information on physical and mental health issues? This can include employee assistance programs, maintaining a list of mental health resources, and establishing connections with community services, such as mental health workers and clinics.

Sometimes one company can help shift an entire culture. If you see that your company or organization is lacking in support of those dealing with mental health issues, be the person to help change the stigma and impact your work’s environment.

The powerful first step: “Are you OK?”

Tips for Employees:
If you’re too depressed to work:
First and foremost: If you’re having trouble working during a depressive episode, don’t beat yourself up over it. This is not something you can “snap out” of with willpower. Many people become depressed or anxious about being depressed or anxious.

  • Take short breaks with a meditation app when you need them.
  • Get outside for a walk in the fresh air.
  • Go to the gym on your lunch breaks.
  • Pack or prep a nutrition-filled lunch.
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene. It will help you stay rested, regulate mood and your mental state.
  • Check in regularly with a trusted friend or colleague. I call this an emotion buddy or coach.

What to do if you can’t work
*Disability benefits are an option.
Some states offer this on a temporary basis. On a federal level, the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs will provide your retirement benefits early (including Medicare). Many companies also offer short term and long term disability possibilities. Depression and anxiety disorders are an illness, not a weakness.

*Remember that you’re not alone.
Dark thoughts can be especially heavy during this time, so reach out to family and friends for support. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a website and can be reached 24/7 at 800-273-8255, should you need it. Seeking professional counseling can also make a world of difference.

*If you don’t feel like your work is meaningful and/or the environment is dreadful, you’re not in a good place. It may be time to move jobs. Again, it’s important to note that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

*For those returning to work, you could talk to your supervisors about working from home options to avoid some triggers.

*You can obtain a note from your treating psychologist or physician documenting your treatment. Under ADA law, companies cannot harass or terminate people for absences due to medical treatment.

For additional resources see, Wellness in the Restaurant and Bar Industry.

 

How to ask for help without feeling weird

‘I Have Your Back’

Reaching out for support is a skill we’re somehow expected to know, yet it’s never taught and rarely modeled for us. When you need help -no matter the kind of help you need, or the person you need it from -to simply state “Can you help me?” can be fraught with tension.

A seemingly simple request for help can bring huge implications with it. You may have been raised in a family where asking for help, or letting others know that you need support, was considered a sign of weakness and was frowned upon for suggesting a lack of privacy regarding personal difficulties.

Asking family members, colleagues, friends, community, and partners for help may reflect a larger cultural dynamic of communication and give-and-take.

Saying, “Can you help me?” speaks powerfully to an instinctive desire to be of service to other people and to receive reciprocal attention. But “Can you help me?” also makes you vulnerable.

What I say to patients: please practice asking for help.
For many, it’s a new activity, and it feels rusty, like anything novel.  Yet, so many people have recently lost their livelihood, had physical health problems, financial hardship, and even loss of home and identity. More than ever, asking for help is an art form that we need. As a society, we don’t always have the experience to ask for help. In my belief, that needs to change, but requires self compassion and practice.

Where to start:
1. Make a list of what you need help with: particular errands, chores, some cooking, walking the dog, getting food or groceries, yard work, job recommendations, assistance with letter or email writing, changing filters, moving furniture, tech support, maybe even a shoulder to cry on.

2. Write down the names of friends, colleagues, and relatives who have offered to help in the past.

3. Match people with tasks based on their interests, their strengths, their time flexibility and your comfort level with them, given the intimacy of the particular task. One friend may really enjoy cooking, another may check in on you via regular texts, another might upgrade your computer, or walk your dog.

4. Pick just one thing off the list and contact the person you’ve chosen. Be direct. See the next few points, below.

5. I always talk about timing and dosage. If you’re not sure whether or not it is a good time, just ask. You can say, “I’ve love to ask for your help with something. Is there a time that’s good for you to talk?”

6. Don’t be defensive. Instead, say what you can’t do.
Instead of saying, “I need to add a few graphic elements for a major key point power point presentation, say, “I’m concerned a few of my slides for my seminar look terrible.” You don’t have to emphasize how ‘important’ you are. Just ask for the help that you need.

7. Show respect. Without actually saying it, you’ve already said, “You know more than I do.” You’ve said, “You can do what I can’t.” You’ve said, “You have experience (or talent or knowledge) that I don’t have.”

Learning is not diminishing yourself.

8. Show trust. You’re vulnerable. You admitted to a weakness.And you’ve shown the other person that you trust them with that knowledge. You’ve already said, “I trust you.”

9. Show you’re willing to listen. Instead of saying exactly how the other person should help you, you give them the freedom to decide.

By showing you respect and trust other people and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don’t just get the help you think you want. You get more.

10. Be grateful. Acknowledge the help you received. Even though you might feel embarrassed that you needed help, don’t pretend like it never happened. Directly acknowledge that you appreciate what the other person did for you.

11. Be sincere. When someone is helping you, it’s okay to be a little bit vulnerable. The other person might appreciate knowing that they are genuinely helping you during a difficult time.

12. Gain credibility by helping others. People will be more likely to agree to help you if you have been known to help others. Build a reputation as a helpful person. You will draw others to you who share that same sentiment.

Least Helpful Things to Say to Someone With Depression

Sackler Gallery, Washington DC, 2019

Lighten Up!
Why can’t you just act happy. You’ll feel better.
Things are not that bad.
You become what you think.
You do not need to take those pills. You’ll just get addicted to them.
Just chill, bruh.
Just have gratitude.
A hot bath always helps.
Get a job. It will keep you busy.
Smile and the world smiles with you.
Your face looks like you’re upset all the time.
You don’t look depressed.
You have gained weight.
You have lost weight.
You always think about yourself.
Your life is so easy.
You are being selfish.
Everyone goes through depression, it is not a big deal.
You are an attention-seeker.
Everyone goes through a rough patch, so that is normal.
Depression is not a disorder, it’s in your head. 
A person of your age should be having fun right now.
You know, you become what you think.
You brought this on yourself.
Stop acting like a child.
Think about others who are really suffering.
This bad attitude won’t help.
Stop thinking about it.
Just stay busy.
Get a life.
Your face is so sad that it makes me depressed.
You need to give yourself time.
Have you prayed on it?

Emergency Hotline

Eight tips to fight loneliness during holidays

Tis the season when we presumably spend our days sipping hot cocoa, eating delicious food, gifting, and doing all sorts of holiday fun-ness with our loved ones, these days, virtually. It’s the jolliest time of year. At least, that’s the lovely picture we’re all marketed for the holidays. The unfortunate reality is this sentimental holiday scenario is anything but the norm.

For many people, this time of year can be a painful reminder of the things they’re not surrounded by. Loneliness happens. And the painful feeling may grow, until you’re convinced you’re destined to be a lonely hermit whom no one wants to be around.

Part of that reason is simply because of our cultural expectations around what the holidays SHOULD be like. When we set our expectations to be one thing, and the reality is something different, we can see it as less than.

Think, for instance, about all of those holiday Hallmark family films that focus on the heartwarming ~feels~ that come from quality time with the fam.

The reality is, though, your IRL or virtual version could easily not match what you see on the screen or with what your neighbors with their beautiful lights and decorations might be experiencing. Coping with the loneliness and holiday blues can be challenging.

Mental health tips:

Recognize how much stress you might be under
Since the holiday season is short and goes quickly it creates a sense of urgency and overwhelm, making you feel like there’s so much to do and so little time to get everything done. Expectation is also a huge cause of stress during the holidays. Everything from holiday decorating to shopping and gift giving come with expectations that are most often unrealistic which causes you to stress about measuring up to those expectations whether they are your own or ones held by family and friends. When people get stressed or feel overwhelmed they can begin to feel alone in their struggles.

Comparison is the thief of joy
People can feel less than, especially when they see everyone else seemingly ‘happy’ and having everything under control. Social media can be a huge culprit of making it seem that everyone else has it all together except you with those happy/perfect pics. Even though social media is for “connecting” with others it can actually do the opposite and make you feel less connected and more alone especially when you compare your life to those you see. Try limiting time on social media.

Don’t isolate yourself, no matter how tempting
When people feel lonely, sad or are struggling they may tend to isolate themselves or feel unmotivated to reach out or interact with others. They may also feel unworthy of someone’s time and that they would burden or inconvenience others by asking them to participate in an activity or by sharing their feelings. They get caught up in their low self-esteem and negative thoughts, and choose to isolate instead of virtually socialize or reach out. The best way to stop and change negative thoughts is by choosing to see them for what they are-as mental distortions, rooted in fear, self-doubt and low self-esteem. Their purpose is to keep us from pursuing relationships and opportunities.

Self compassion
Please ask yourself if this is a kind thought you are telling yourself. Flip the negative self statement to a positive thought, for example if you are struggling with worth and feelings of deserving ask yourself “Who am I not to deserve this?” Start repeating “I am worthy” multiple times throughout the day and you will begin to believe it and act from a place of feeling worthy and deserving. The more you practice positive thinking, the more empowered and less lonely you will feel. I actually have my patients write this down on index cards and carry it around to look at throughout the day. 

Process and be in your feelings
It’s okay to feel sad and to let yourself feel lonely. Everyone has bouts of loneliness at times and often it’s because family may be far away or maybe right now you don’t have a significant other or kids. Spend some time fully feeling your feelings until they dissipate. You can do this by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness teaches you how to be aware of your feelings, to feel them in your body and to allow and accept them without creating a narrative around them. It is OK to cry or feel an intensity of emotions, and in accepting and inviting these feelings to be present they dissipate and more calm and peace prevails.

Engage in the practice of opposite action/emotion
Practice opposite emotion and action, derived from Buddhism, to change your mood by engaging in behavior that is opposite to what your current emotion is pulling from you. For example, if you are angry and feel yourself tensing up, then try to open your posture and uncross your arms. Stretch your body for release. Similarly, if you are feeling sad and lonely and want to withdraw, then make a point to reach out to friends or watch a funny or well loved movie to help mitigate sadness.

The theory behind the skill I teach in my clinical practice to patients that I call OPPOSITE EMOTION is that every emotion is accompanied by an urge to engage in certain behaviors and these behaviors perpetuate the emotion. For example, the most common action urge for anxiety is avoidance. The more you avoid something you fear, the more intense your anxiety will become, and so approaching what you fear will help reduce anxiety both because you learn the situation is okay and because you aren’t continuing to reinforce your fear by avoiding the situation. It is important to note that the goal is not to push away your emotion or suppress it, but rather to work on cultivating another emotion.

Community service and volunteering
Use your energy and resources on behalf of people who need your help. Volunteer to tutor students, as many are struggling with virtual learning; help at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, make food for an elderly neighbor, or volunteer at an animal shelter.

Appreciate what you have
Send cards or a personal note to everyone who means a lot to you. Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude. Make your holidays a spiritual growth time, such as creating a personal ritual, prayer, meditation, or virtual gathering with close friends. I have several friends who have a personal altar at home, and engage in prayer to their ancestors and loved ones who are not present. Find something for you that is meaningful. 

Men and mental health

In my practice, the majority of my clients are male. Overall, three times as many men as women die by suicide, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) comprehensive report from 2018. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also cited 2018 data, similarly noting that in that year alone, men died by suicide three and a half times more often than women in the United States.

Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit, collected data suggesting that more than 6 million men in the U.S. experience symptoms of depression each year, and more than 3 million experience an anxiety disorder. Despite these figures, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that men are much less likely than women to have received formal mental health support.

In a study from Canada, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, in 2016, more than one-third of the participants in the study admitted to holding stigmatizing beliefs about mental health issues in men. Significantly more male than female respondents said that they would feel embarrassed about seeking formal treatment for depression.

BIPOC men face additional challenges when it comes to looking after their mental health. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), in the U.S., Black and Latinx men are six times more likely to be murdered than their white peers. Indigenous American men are the demographic most likely to attempt suicide in this country and Black men are most likely to experience incarceration, based on statistics gathered by the American Psychological Association. The consequences of these disparities on the mental health of people of color and of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds is exponentially challenging.

Depression symptoms often manifest differently in men than women, perhaps based on these disparities. Some men with depression hide their emotions, and may seem to be angry, irritable, or aggressive, while many women may seem overtly sad or express sadness verbally.

For men, some symptoms of depression are physiological, such as a racing heart, digestive issues, muscle tension, bodily aches and pains, or headaches, and men are more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms. Additionally, self-medicating with alcohol and other substances can be a common symptom of depression among men and that this can exacerbate mental health problems and increase the risk of developing other health conditions.

It is not easy for men to be open with others about mental health struggles. In fact, many of the male patients that I see have never spoken about their struggles until they come to my office, often not until they have experienced dire difficulties. Often, their pain is palpable.

As a mental health community, and as a society, we have to teach men to not mask their emotions. Instead, we need to encourage men to speak up, not man up. Talking saves lives; let’s normalize mental health.
(statistics from the American Psychological Association and NIMH). 

Smiling Depression

The term “smiling depression” – appearing happy to others while internally suffering significant depressive symptoms is receiving more research attention. While smiling depression is not a technical term that psychologists use based on ICD or DSM criteria, it is certainly possible to be depressed and manage to successfully mask the symptoms. The closest technical term for this condition is “atypical depression”. In fact, a significant proportion of people who experience a low mood and a loss of pleasure in activities manage to hide their condition in this way.

These people might be particularly vulnerable to suicide.

It can be very hard to spot people suffering from smiling depression. They may seem like they don’t have a reason to be sad – they have a job, popularity, and maybe even children or a partner. They smile when you greet them and can carry pleasant conversations. In short, they put on a mask to the outside world while leading seemingly normal and active lives. Tony Bourdain and Robin Williams are good examples.

Inside, however, they feel hopeless and down, intermittently having thoughts about ending it all. The strength that they have to go on with their daily lives can make them especially vulnerable to carrying out suicide plans.

Although people with smiling depression put on a “happy face” to the outside world, they can experience a genuine lift in their mood as a result of positive occurrences in their lives. For example, getting a text message from someone they’ve been craving to hear from, volunteering or doing community service to help others, or being praised at work can make them feel better for a few moments.

Other symptoms of this condition include under or overeating, substance abuse, irritability, feeling a sense of heaviness in the body, insomnia, and being easily hurt by criticism or rejection. People with smiling depression are also more likely to feel depressed in the evening, also known as sundowning, and feel the need to sleep longer than usual. Smiling depression is exhausting, because a great deal of mental effort is required for them to put forth the semblance that everything is fine.

Recently, Women’s Health magazine captured the essence of smiling depression – the façade – when it asked women to share pictures from their social media and then to recaption them on Instagram with how they really felt in the moment they were taking the picture.

It is difficult to determine exactly what causes smiling depression, but low mood can stem from a number of things, such as work problems, financial hardship, relationship breakdowns, and feeling as if life doesn’t have purpose and meaning. It is very common. About one in ten people are depressed, and between 15% and 40% of these people suffer from the atypical form that resembles smiling depression.

Such depression can often start early in life and can last a long time.If you suffer from smiling depression it is particularly important to get help. Sadly, though, people suffering from this condition usually don’t, because they might not think that they have a problem in the first place – this is particularly the case if they appear to be carrying on with their tasks and daily routines as before. In short, they get used to feeling bad. More than ever, it’s very important to check in with people who seem like they’re doing well, during difficult times.

The way is through, not around.

How to persist in hard times through mindful writing.

 

Write It Out
Did you ever write an emotional e-mail to an ex when you felt angry but then deleted it? Chances are you still felt better though you didn’t send it. If you’ve suffered an upsetting event, writing about it can actually make you feel better. That’s in part because writing organizes your thoughts, which makes the experience feel less chaotic. Writing also can offer you an emotional release, insight into yourself and the feeling that you can be more in control. Clinical psychologist, Dr. James Pennebaker, found that writing for 10 to 15 minutes per day reduces clinical depression, commensurate with taking medication.

Set aside 15 minutes a day to write about the event or the day, and how it made you feel.

Write in a journal, laptop, or phone, whatever feels most accessible to you personally.

Don’t worry about grammar or artistry. It’s called stream of consciousness. This is just for you. But get it down.

Stick with it. At first writing about an upsetting experience may be painful, but over time it can help you get past the upset. I have a friend who is a writer, who created a very popular blog and a successful writing career that evolved, starting from his own past losses and grief.

How To Start
Write down the problems or thoughts involved. On paper they may seem more manageable than swirling in your head.
Do not be your own critic. Just get it out, and you can edit it as much as you want later.
Make it a practice. Neuropsychology research shows that new neural pathways are formed by practicing an activity or exercise for at least a minimum of 21 to 28 days.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt at writing is not to your satisfaction. It’s the action, not the product.

As a published writer has told me, write about both the what and the why. It trains your brain to think about both.

Reference, Pennebaker, James, The power of expressive writing: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691617707315

Election Hangover Symptoms

Vermont, 2016

Here’s some of what you might be feeling today (or into the next several weeks), from the psychological perspective.

Fatigue – Constantly thinking about politics and worrying about the outcome of the election can give you tunnel vision. We just don’t have the cognitive and emotional energy to expend any more thought or emotions without an effect on mental health.

Anxiety Having feelings of anxiety is common. Anxiety is an ancient response, stemming from uncertainty and a sense of threat. Give yourself space, but seek professional help if it feels extreme.

Gloominess – This is also a direct result of uncertainty about what the future will hold.

Mental fog – Constant, chronic, and building stress can cause mental fogginess. It interrupts concentration. So does high anxiety. Plus, sometimes, the fogginess can have a more simple cause: You stayed up too late watching the election returns, you forgot to eat or hydrate, and your brain is just wiped.

How to Recover
Some hangovers (including election hangovers in 2020) can take a little longer to shake than others. But there are a few things you can do to recover a little quicker this time around.

Remember that you did your part. You turned out to vote and hopefully encouraged your friends and family to do the same. Reminding yourself that you played an important role in a historic election and the democratic process can help give you a mental boost.

Distract yourself. If you feel especially anxious about the election results, That could mean reaching out to family and friends, reading a book, or binge-watching Netflix.

Consider disengaging with social media. Avoid aggressive and negative conflicts, drama, and toxic situations.

Get some sleep. I know getting quality shut-eye when you’re stressed can be a tall order. Try winding down your brain before bed with a (non-political) book, podcast, or listening to some calming music. 

Squeeze in a workout. Find time for some form of exercise. Moving your body helps release endorphins, which can help you feel more positive and alert. Even walking your dog is helpful.
Find some perspective. It can feel extremely difficult right now, but remember that no matter what the outcome, life will continue after the election. Just give yourself a little compassion. You’re hungover, after all.

Embolden Psychology
Embolden

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Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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