One of the keys to self-regulation is that we need to be aware of when we are feeling stressed - why and why now?
Today is the inauguration of Donald Trump as the US President. While I am a Canadian, I live right on the border with the US. To paraphrase Sarah Palin, I can see the United States from my house. My husband works in the US as do many of our neighbours and friends. The day of the US Presidential election I was having an 'off day.' I ate all kinds of junk that I knew was not good for me. I knew it was stress eating but I couldn't seem to stop. I was unable to focus on any particular reading or task that day. It wasn't until I read Susan Hopkin's blog entry on the US election the next day that I realized the amount of stress and anxiety that I had around the election.
If I look at this inauguration through the self-regulation lens, I can see stress in many of the domains:
Biological domain - lack of sleep and poor food choices due to stress; I have been trying to be more mindful of making good food choices and going to the gym to counteract these factors.
Emotional domain - worry and fear around the unknown. Living in a border city, we spend a lot of time going back and forth across the border for entertainment, and for work. What will be the impact of Trump's presidency on our day-to-day lives as cross-border citizens?
Cognitive domain - In her blog, Susan referred to information overload during the election - the constant barrage of tweets, social media posts and news stories and there is the same media saturation for the inauguration. It seems to permeate everything right now.
Social domain - it seems like every social gathering over the holidays there was a conversation around the election. I'm so done talking about what will or might happen during the Trump presidency. I feel like I just want to get this over with so we can get on to whatever our new normal is going to be for the next four years.
Prosocial domain - I'm trying to be open-minded and understand the perspective of those who voted for Trump but, to be honest, it's exhausting. I'm avoiding the topic, especially with some our American friends and colleagues.
Today I'll be mindful that it's going to be a stressful day. I'm going to my dad's for lunch and I know we will watch the inauguration. (I can't help myself.) But I won't eat all the cookies I baked for dad; I'll leave them for him to enjoy. I've already packed my gym bag and plan to stop for a good workout on my way home.
The day of the election was awful - I stayed up really late watching the results and thinking that maybe it was going to change while eating unhealthy foods and feeling yucky. Today I am more mindful. I will use my self-regulation lens to understand the stressors created by the Trump inauguration. I will strive to find healthy ways like good food and exercise to help me deal with this stress. And, most likely, a glass of wine at the end of the day!
Some resources you may find helpful:
How are you spending Inauguration Day?