VP Client Blog

Strategies for Managing Stress During Unrest

Over the last year, we have seen protests in all 50 states of America as well as in countries overseas. Though most of these protests have remained peaceful, some have resulted in civil unrest events during the midst of a global pandemic. Seeing images of violence and destruction, combined with the harsh tone often associated with the news can lead us to feelings of anxiety, stress, and burnout. There is no playbook, rule book, or blueprint on how to navigate times like this. But there are healthy ways to cope and get involved. Whether you or your employees have been active participants in creating social change or observing the civil unrest on the news, it can take a toll on our mental health. And for organization leaders, it is important to ensure employees are seen, heard, valued, and supported during these times. Below are four ways to help manage stress for you and your employees.

Stay Informed in a Way that Reduces Burnout

Many of us are accustomed to receiving our news visually, through television, social media, or via the internet; and there can be an emotional fallout of news coverage that affects our physical and mental health.
  • Consider changing the way you consume news. Not just the content of the news you’ve received but how it's delivered. Listening to news radio can help control your visual stimulation. 
  • Change your phone settings to limit social media use. Install a plug-in to depoliticize your newsfeed or set a screen time function to limit amount of time you spend on certain apps.
  • Take frequent breaks from news exposure. The constant consumption of information causes challenges that often lead to feeling overwhelmed and mentally tired.

Channel Your Anxiety

Do something that fuels you - Taking in information that is emotionally draining can deplete you. While it is important to be well-informed about an array of topics, it is also important to do something that fuels you.
  • What makes you happy? Make a list and commit to one of the items daily -- whether it’s engaging with your family, watching your favorite show, hanging out with a friend, or going for a run.
  • Seek out perspective: If you need a break from social media, but you want to be more informed about the historical context about how we got here, try reading some books on racism or systematic oppression The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander and White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo are two great examples of books to consider reading. Reading books like these can help you better understand how we got to where we are today.
  • Engage in self-reflection and mindfulness: Journaling and writing out your thoughts about what you’re seeing and hearing can be a personal and impactful way to digest what is going on around you. Meditation is another tool that can assist you in clearing your mind and lower stress. Several social justice mindfulness resources can help you feel more engaged such as BLM meditations with Dr. Candice Nicole. Dr. Nicole offers guided meditation and loving kindness to reduce stress, affirm value in humanity, and help recenter yourself.

Plug into Social Justice Work

Connect with Community

  • Engage with those who love and support you. Even if your support system is not actively involved with you, having their emotional support can be a big driving factor towards your success. While it is important to receive support, others may not have the same resources and support system as you do. Offer to lend support to those who need it as a way to give back. 
  • Work together as a team and lean on those around you in your organization. Volunteer in numbers to help with a local organization. You can also come together to watch an educational video then have a discussion during a team meeting.
Visit the Virgin Pulse Client Resource Center's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
page for more information and resources. 
Password: VirginPulseCRC!


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