Overcoming Stress Caused by Unpredictable Events:

With the combination of the election and the pandemic, we must not forget how to cope with all unpredictable situations that come up throughout our lives. This year has challenged us all, but in order to move forward, you might want to try these American Psychological Association’s (APA) tips.

Uncertainty causes stress which has a detrimental effect on your body. Every system of the body works together to create constant homeostasis. This balance ensures that your body continues to perform its vital functions to keep you alive. However stress, more specifically the fight or flight response creates a new disequilibrium causing your brain and body to react in ways it normally wouldn’t. 

In order to allow yourself to take a deep breath and continue with this semester, try to incorporate what works for you.

  1. 1. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control:

    As someone who can worry about every single possible outcome, I have realized that I am causing more stress than the situation would normally warrant. However when situations, like an election, arise and you did everything you could for it to go your way, then there is nothing you can do. 

    I suggest finding a distraction, anything where your conscience is completely on another topic.

  2. 2. Take your own advice:

    You know yourself better than anyone, so think about what you would tell a friend if they were in the same situation. What similar conversations have you had with friends and, if nothing is memorable, ask them yourself! With times like these, they might be able to relate to you more than you think. 

  3. 3. ASK FOR HELP

    This might be the hardest step, but it also can be the most rewarding. 

    Asking for help reiterates the fact that you are not alone, you have people to go to and they want to help. Mental health professionals go through years of school to guide you to be your best self. American University provides free counseling at its Virtual Counseling Center.

  4. 4. Engage in Self-Care:

    This is someone unique to each person, so find what works best for you. This could be anything from exercising to Netflix to watching the sunset. If you need more guidance, here’s an incredible Her Campus American article about Election Self-Care written by my editor!

  5. 5. Control what you can:

    With your spring semester schedule potentially set, you can ask your advisor or even the professor to receive the syllabus for your courses. Then, you could have a clear idea of what will take place for the upcoming months and what you can do now to prepare for the future. Also, with finals coming up, control how you spend your time and use the self-care tips above!

The APA provides five more research-based tips that can make a positive difference in your life if you take that first course of action. Whatever you do, follow your gut, and stay safe (mentally and physically)!