Top tips to look after your mental health at times of political uncertainty

Political change can be a time of hope for some or a time of worry for others. But for everyone these times of transition can create challenges to our mental health.

Fortunately there are many things we can do to try to minimise the impact that events have on how we feel.

Here are some top tips:

Please follow the advice below in line with the latest government guidance on staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Stay informed, but be aware of your limits

  • Consider how much information and news you take in and reflect on how it’s affecting you.
  • Try to accept that with global and national events there are things that are out of our control.
  • It may be a good idea to mute or turn off news notifications on your smartphone, or limit your news intake to reading a morning paper or watching the evening news.

Engage with your community in a meaningful way

  • If you feel that political change is affecting your community, see if you can be meaningfully involved with local grassroots or community groups working on issues that are important to you.
  • We know that helping others is good for your mental health.
  • For example, if you are concerned about the impact on homeless people or asylum seekers, consider volunteering at a foodbank.

Empower your voice

  • Regardless of where you stand on issues, you may feel powerless if you have opinions but remain distant.
  • You don’t have to join a political party but could explore ways to be engaged in a political community.
  • For example, you could take part in a peaceful organised rally, attend hustings or join relevant events or debates.
  • Civic and political activism may make you feel more empowered and give you an avenue to express your thoughts in a constructive way.

Invest in what’s common between people and don’t overestimate differences

  • It is healthy to have friends, colleagues and family who have a range of different political opinions. It can be a great thing to spend time with others with a range of views, as it can help us to keep an open mind and to understand where other people are coming from.
  • If a topic comes up which you disagree on, try to avoid aggressive discussion and, instead, focus on active listening, respectful discussion and assertive communication.
  • If a comment upsets you, try and take a break, pause the conversation and come back when you feel ready.

Don’t bottle it up

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t suppress your feelings.
  • Seek support, talk to a friend, family member or your GP.
  • There are also telephone helplines that provide vital emotional support during stressful times.
  • If you are stressed about your long-term status at work because of changes in immigration rules, or discussions about your company moving staff from the UK, then talk to your HR colleagues to get assurances and contact your employer’s Employee Assistance Programme, if there is one, for psychological support.

Look after your mental health.

  • Remember to keep allocating time to things, activities and actions that are good for your mental health.
  • What works will be different for each person, although we know that good quality sleep is important for the mental health of all of us.
  • Other examples are exercising, eating healthy foods, avoiding alcohol, spending quality time with friends and taking a break to spend time on a hobby; all of these will make you feel better and take your mind off the stress of the news cycle.

Finally, if you feel that political change is affecting your children, then use our guide below to help you have open and honest conversations at home:

Talking to your children about scary world news