Mind-calming tips for an anxious inauguration

Following the Jan. 6 riot inside the U.S. Capitol, uncertainty about potential inaugural violence might have some folks feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and a D.C.-area counselor has some advice for easing an anxious mind.

“There’s so much going on right now. We’ve experienced some trauma,” said Julie Isaacs, a mental health therapist and the regional director of behavioral health services for Kaiser Permanente’s mid-Atlantic region.

“I think one of the greatest things we can do to manage the stress is to first take a deep breath,” she said.

Some other tips from Isaacs …

  • Consider a media diet: “You’re checking in rather than just having alerts going off all day long.”
  • Limit caffeine: “It can increase anxious and negative feelings.”
  • Focus on the positive, “like expressing gratitude for things that are special and important in our life.”
  • Stick to routines and schedules: “A great way to manage uncertainty is any way that you can feel more in control of your environment.”
  • Do something distracting, like playing games, cooking or watching a movie: “Being busy just to get your mind off of a stressful situation.”
  • Volunteer or make donations: “It really makes a huge difference in how you feel when you can help somebody else.”
  • Go for a walk and get some fresh air.
  • Consider using apps such as Calm or myStrength: “Those can be wonderful things to help you refocus and take a step back.”

And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you start feeling overwhelmed.

“It’s OK not to be OK,” Isaacs said. “It’s OK to reach out for support and speak with a mental health provider or a primary-care doctor for help.”

You can find free, confidential crisis counseling though the National Alliance on Mental Illness website or by texting NAMI to 741741.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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