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Stressed About the Election? Here Is a Self-Care Plan to Keep You Sane

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Election Day is finally here, which for many, brings an avalanche of mixed feelings. Elections are normally stressful enough, but 2020 has been a whole different ball game. In a year that has been filled with violence, division, and sickness, most of us already feel like we’re at the end of our rope.

Not only are we anxiously awaiting the results of the election to see where our country is headed, but we are also worried about how the country will react to our new president, whoever that is. Reports of President Trump refusing to accept the election’s outcome and radical groups preparing for violence have us all on edge–and for good reason.

And while we don’t have much control over world events, we have complete control over how we respond to them. Here is a self-care plan to keep you sane this Election Day.

Commit to Not Obsessively Checking the News

This election season seems to throw us a curve ball every second, so it can be tempting to keep checking your phone or TV for updates. This type of obsessive behavior is detrimental to your mental health. Remember–the news will still be there in 5 minutes, one hour, or 24 hours. Besides, we probably won’t have the results by Wednesday night anyway. Instead, commit to connecting to the here and now without distraction.

Consume Positive Media

If staying present in the here and now feels impossible on Election Day, then distracting yourself is a solid alternative. Allow yourself to indulge in a mindless romantic comedy or a page-turning YA book to give you the positive escape you need. Sometimes, living in a different world for a few hours can boost your serotonin levels enough for you to get back to baseline and tackle whatever the world throws at you.

Touch Base With (Reasonable) Friends

“Reasonable” being the key word here. If you have a friend who tends to catastrophize and see the worst in every situation (and we all have a friend like that), this week might not be the best time to connect with him or her. Instead, reach out to friends who are steady and drama-free. Most of us have at least one friend who doesn’t let the chaos of the outside world effect them. Have a Facetime session or an appropriately socially-distanced one-on-one friend date with that person.

Schedule a therapy appointment

If you are still feeling anxious and you don’t happen to have a therapy appointment in the upcoming days, reach out to your therapist to put one on the books. If you don’t have a therapist, take this as an opportunity to research and reach out to one. Investing in your mental health is the smartest investment you can make.

So yes, the future is uncertain, but that doesn’t mean the way you react to it has to be. If you commit to having your own emotional back, then you know you’ll be at okay no matter what happens. Just having that peace of mind can make all the difference.

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New York City Will Try to Answer Mental Health Calls With Crisis Workers Instead of Police Officers

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New York City Will Try to Answer Mental Health Calls With Crisis Workers Instead of Police Officers

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It looks like New York City is taking a much-needed step forward in the area of police reform. Last Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, announced a brand new pilot program in which mental health crisis workers, instead of police, will be dispatched in response to non-violent mental health calls.

“For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement.

According to CNN, New York City received over 170,000 mental health-related calls in 2019.

That is roughly one call every three minutes. Police officers respond to every one of those calls–regardless if there is a threat of violence.

DeBlasio’s statement explained that police officers would accompany mental health workers if there was any threat of violence. The program, which is set to begin in February, will be tested out in two unidentified “high-need” neighborhoods.

The pilot program is in response to near-universal calls for police reform that raised to a fever pitch in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

Advocates of police reform argue that American police are over-militarized and tend to escalate conflict instead of de-escalating. This can be particularly frustrating in the cases of people with mental health problems, who often need a doctor more than they need a police officer.

“Treating mental-health crises as mental-health challenges and not public safety ones is the modern and more appropriate approach,” wrote McCray in a press release. “That is because most individuals with psychiatric concerns are much more likely to be victims or harm themselves than others.’’

Ideally, a program like this will encourage families to no longer be afraid of calling emergency services if a loved one is having a mental health crisis. No one should be afraid of losing their life when they call 911 for help.

The general response to this new experiment was that of both optimism and skepticism.

One former police officer told CNN that the program had promise, but he was worried for situations when a mentally ill person “turns on a dime” and becomes violent with little provocation.

This person pointed out that mental health pros have better training at de-escalating situations.

Unfortunately, police officers don’t have the robust training in handling mentally ill people as social workers and crisis workers do.

This person is glad that the police will still be an option if back-up is needed:

We’ve heard one too many stories about disabled or mentally ill children and/or adults being violently dealt with by police officers. This program sounds like it could be a stepping stone.

This person made an interesting point about “defunding the police” vs “funding social services”

Sometimes, something as simple as changing semantics can make all the difference. We should be re-routing funds to make people safer, not to further militarize the police.

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Julio Rivera Created The Meditation App Liberate To Help The Black Community Heal

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Julio Rivera Created The Meditation App Liberate To Help The Black Community Heal

Courtesy of Julio Rivera

Mental health is so important. There are so many ways to work on your mental health and meditation is one of them. Julio Rivera, an Afro-Latinx software engineer, was tired of the all-white meditation world he experienced and decided to do something about it. With the help of the Apple App Store’s big presence and marketing tools, Liberate has reached the audience who needs it most.

Julio Rivera is the creator of Liberate, a meditation app.

Rivera started his journey into meditation started five years ago. The practice helped him with managing his stress and anxiety in a natural and healthy way. Rivera had struggled with drugs and alcohol to cope but meditation became a different kind of escape and he wanted to get deeper into it.

“I downloaded an app called Headspace and that’s where my meditation journey began and I really started to notice changes in my stress and anxiety levels,” Rivera says. “From that, I realized, ‘Wow. This was really helping me.’”

Rivera got involved with meditation thanks to an app.

Rivera found Headspace, a meditation app to help him get familiar with meditation. After a while, Rivera wanted a more personal experience in meditation because the app wasn’t cutting it for him because of the overwhelmingly white presence. This was the time before Covid when meeting in person was a safe and acceptable thing to do.

“I started attending different in-person meditation communities in New York City and after trying out a few communities I landed in a community-specific for supporting people of color,” Rivera recalls. “I remember walking into the room and seeing all of these beautiful Black and brown faces, mostly and just feeling at home and at ease. Like I was back with family being a Black and Latinx man.”

Rivera further explains that meditating in predominantly white spaces hinders the healing power of meditation. The lack of Black and brown voices and faces in his previous meditation experiences left him unable to feel completely at ease.

Rivera’s experience in these spaces is why he created Liberate.

Liberate was born of a need to have spaces to talk about, tackle, and dismantle internalized racism that is forced on people. Rivera saw a need for a Black space in the meditation world to give Black people a chance to deal with this issue. Society’s racist ideals have been perpetuated to a point that people have internalized that notion.

“When I looked at apps at the time, nobody was really looking at the experience of some who identifies as Black, indigenous, or a person of color,” Rivera says. “That’s when I felt called to us my background in mobile apps startups. I was a software engineer for a very long time. I felt like this was a calling to be of service and to start Liberate.”

Rivera harnessed his software engineer experience and created a place for Black people to find peace. Liberate is a place for the Black community to work through the anti-Blackness that has been so prevalent in American society for centuries.

Rivera is grateful for Apple’s work in getting Liberate out there.

The Apple App Store has been a driving force in getting Liberate out there to the necessary community. Apple has joined other major companies in highlighting Black-owned and Black-created products. This goes for Liberate.

Liberate was included in a list of apps created by and for communities of color. The collection of apps called “Stand Up to Racism” highlights apps including Liberate, StoryCorps, and Black Nation. The intention is to give people a chance to discover and support Black-owned businesses and apps.

Apple offers a diverse array of apps to support people in various communities. Mental health is very important during Covid and apps like Liberate are paving the way for communities of color to openly discuss the importance of taking care of mental health.

READ: Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

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