Coping with anxiety during these unsettling times

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Images of the riots at the U.S. Capitol and the political unrest in the country can be unsettling for many. As more talks continue about impeachment and security concerns for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, some are feeling overwhelmed.

"There is this concept called vicarious trauma, and vicarious trauma can occur if we are hearing a lot of traumatic situations and details or seeing traumatic imagery," Dr. Talee Vang, a psychologist, said.

Vang said these current events can cause a whole host of symptoms.

"People have identified symptoms like muscle tension, stomach concerns, irritability, frustration, and also just feeling a lack of motivation, lack of energy. Lots of people are also seeing problems with concentration," Vang said.

Vang had a few suggestions for what people can do if they’re having a hard time.

"I want people to be very intentional about their sleep, their nutrition, their activity and their social connections," Vang said. "And if you have paid time off, I really want to recommend that. People are bypassing that, especially if we’re working from home, we’re working remote."

As far as the violent images, Vang said there are ways to balance that out.

"Peaceful imagery. Balance that out with things that bring you a sense of calm, a sense of relaxation, or even a sense of joy," Vang said.

Another recommendation Vang mentioned is for people to consider seeing a therapist. She said it can help by offering a safe place to talk and to process some of the emotions.