Members of the “resistance” against President Trump have staged riots, confronted administration officials in public, protested the president’s reversal of Obama policies, howled in anguish when Neil Gorsuch was added to the Supreme Court and now are mobilizing to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the bench.
Amid all of this, they suffer from stress.
Oh, so much stress, as documented in a American Psychological Association report last year that found for the first time in 10 years a statistically significant increase in stress levels in the U.S. compared to the previous year.
In response, two activists have come up with an “essential guide” for “coping.”
Kathy Hertz and Donna Lipman have produced “Beyond Resistance: Coping with the Stress of the Trump Era” and are selling it online.
Hertz’s biography says she “proudly calls herself a card-carrying member of the Resistance.”
“She has extensive backgrounds in politics and government as well as the entertainment industry. Kathy has experienced and witnessed the enormous impact that unchecked negative internal voices and beliefs can have on lives. For this reason she believed it was imperative to address the epidemic levels of distress and overwhelm following Donald Trump’s election,” the biography explains.
Lipman, meanwhile, “brings together her commitment to The Resistance, life coaching and presentation skills” to the project.
They urge fellow travelers to pay attention to signs of stress.
“Overwhelm is a message to yourself from yourself,” Lipman said. “A call to action, a sign to pay greater attention to your needs and what you can comfortable manage and have the desire to manage.”
They offer “The Overwhelm Quiz,” with instructions to rate each question from 1-5, with 1 being the “least true” and 5 being the truest.
- My workdays and weekends are jam-packed.
- When spending time with my friends, family, partner, I’m anxious to move on to the next thing — I can never fully enjoy the moment.
- Quiet time for myself seems impossible.
- I use my vacation days to run errands and catch up on chores.
- I manage to stay on top of things, but I don’t know how long I can keep up.
- More often than not, I am tired and stressed out.
- My life is certainly not boring, but it’s also wearing me down.
- I find myself waking up angry, scared, or upset.
- I tend to say “yes” to every request.
- Even when I have time for myself, I’m not doing anything that nourishes or replenishes my physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
“If you scored between 10 and 15, you are doing great!” the authors say. “If you scored between 16 and 30, you may want to think about ways to take a little more time for yourself or use your time to support your well-being more effectively. If you scored between 30 and 50, take heed and consider your self-care now!”
They warn to watch for signs of stress, including numbing out with food, alcohol, social media, work, etc., sleeping too much or too little, feeling out of control or powerless, forgetting or losing things, experiencing heart palpitations or a general sense of anxiety, retreating from friends, family, or the world, acting reckless or careless, jumping to conclusions, being unable to focus, making excuses, blaming others, or painting yourself as a victim, having a short temper; angering easily, wanting to cry or scream from frustration, lacking follow-through, feeling stuck and “not taking care of yourself.”
“True well-being is about you and your relationship with yourself,” said Hertz. “It can only be achieved by taking the time to check in, get clear, and make choices based on your priorities. Being in or noticing overwhelm is not the problem – not acting or taking responsibility for it is. When overwhelm owns you, you have lost.”
The two cite the January 2017 American Psychological Association report, which said: “Americans certainly appear to be more stressed than ever. The most commonly shared explanation for why is the nation’s extreme political polarization. Indeed, 57 percent of the more than 1,000 people surveyed for the study said the current political climate was a ‘very significant’ or ‘somewhat significant’ source of stress,” the report said.
APA said Americans “may be continuing to experience the emotional fallout of the election in the form of hostility, mistrust, feelings of being under attack, and pervasive anxiety.”
“It is no longer the case that the things that divide us are less than those that unite us as Americans. Today, we struggle with profound differences in values and definitions of who we are as a nation.”
The report blamed the president.
“I hear stories every day of partners who constantly fight about politics, or of family members who no longer speak to each other because of differing political views. President Trump’s style is to dig in and attack opponents, rather than emphasizing compromise and unity. While this strategy may be effective in some situations, it can exacerbate conflict, rather than resolve it. This style of confrontation may be trickling down to dinner tables and water coolers, creating increasing division and anger,” it said.
Hertz and Lipman says their book will help Americans “turn their angst into activism as they share their process of navigating today’s political climate, conversation, and chaos.”
“Americans are facing a public health crisis brought on by the election of Donald Trump,” they claim. “We are watching the degradation of the highest office of the land, diminishment of our leadership and standing in the world, blatant disregard for constitutional law, the attempted dismantlement of democratic norms and institutions, erosion of civil and minority rights, disintegration of the social safety net so many families rely upon, and living with the threat of nuclear war. We are drowning in our anger, frustration, fear, hopelessness, and anxiety. Many view the president of the United States as an existential threat.”
But they say they can help people deal with “Trump-stress.”