Politics are an important part of civic engagement. Being an informed voter is a core part of civic engagement, as well as an important part of Democratic freedom. However, as I’m sure most are aware, the current political climate is a constant flow of news that may be anything from confusing to outright exhausting. This political exhaustion is made worse by the constant connections we all share through modern technology. Because it can be so hard to disconnect, this just makes the burnout worse. To help you take a step back, read on for a few tips for dealing with political burnout.
Stay Informed, But Step Back
A politically-minded person will take it upon themselves to be constantly ‘on.’ If you’re this kind of person, you might find it hard to stop commenting and getting into arguments on Facebook or Twitter. This might not be the most productive way to engage politically, and social media can be a form of discourse that is extremely hard to step away from. However, just distancing yourself from social media can be very good for your mental health. Many of these social media are essential to staying informed, but don’t get drawn into lengthy arguments with no positive outcome.
Accept the Grey Areas.
Nuance is not a common thing to see in political discussions, but it can help you embrace a healthier mindset. Black-and-white understandings of politics can be harmful to how you interact with not only others, but also with your political candidates. Accepting that less-than-perfect can still be more than good enough will help you remain more grounded and focused on the political process – which is often just doing the best with what you are given.
Everybody has their own boundaries in life. In all parts of our lives, we might have different boundaries that we set. You might not have many boundaries around your personal life, but don’t discuss politics – or perhaps you are the opposite. Boundaries are very personal, but make sure you set clear political boundaries. This might be different for everyone, but even just keeping one of your social media feeds clear of political discourse could help keep you from feeling like politics is inescapable.
Honesty about our mental health is an essential part of remaining active and avoiding exhaustion. Even if you have firm boundaries around your mental health issues, do what you can to discuss your political fatigue openly and honestly. This is essential to avoiding burnout in all walks of life, but it can be the most difficult in a political realm due to how hard it can be to find someone who is both interested and in agreement on political issues.
Burnout in a working environment is difficult to approach, but it can be manageable. We can take our vacations and breaks from work, but politics are everywhere. Especially today, it can feel like we need to be engaged at all times, but don’t be afraid to take steps for the sake of your mental health.