Sac State counselors discuss how to cope with a post-election environment

Reports of restlessness and loss of sleep among students due to the stressful environment

Sacramento+State%27s+Vice+President+of+Student+Affairs+Edward+Mills+said%2C+%E2%80%9CIt+may+take+us+a+few+more+days%2C+maybe+even+through+the+weekend%2C+before+anything+is+really+finalized.%22+Sacramento+State%E2%80%99s+Division+of+Student+Affairs+held+a+post-+election+community+discussion+for+students+with+counselors+from+Counseling+and+Psychological+Services+available+for+one-on-one+sessions+over+Zoom+Thursday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+2020.+Screenshots+taken+by+Michael+Pacheco+via+Zoom.

Mercy Sosa

Sacramento State’s Vice President of Student Affairs Edward Mills said, “It may take us a few more days, maybe even through the weekend, before anything is really finalized.” Sacramento State’s Division of Student Affairs held a post- election community discussion for students with counselors from Counseling and Psychological Services available for one-on-one sessions over Zoom Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Screenshots taken by Michael Pacheco via Zoom.

Michael Pacheco

Sacramento State’s Division of Student Affairs held a post-election community discussion for students with counselors from Sac State Counseling and Psychological Services available for one-on-one sessions over Zoom Thursday.

The purpose of the event was to provide a safe space for students to discuss how to deal with uncertainty in a post-election environment and provide counseling both in the main Zoom session and in one-on-one sessions via Zoom private messages, according to an email from the Division of Student Affairs.

The event was hosted by Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Aisha Engle, with co-hosts Residential Life Senior Associate Director Aja C. Holmes and Multicultural Center Coordinator Patsy Jimenez, with several other counselors present to help answer questions.

“Since we are in a virtual setting we wanted to be able to make sure our students had access to faculty and staff,” Holmes said.

Director of Counseling Services Ronald Lutz cited several of the issues that students have been bringing up even before the election took place.

“Many people have been feeling angry or helpless,” Lutz said. “There have been reports of restlessness and loss of sleep among students due to the stressful environment.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Mills began the discussion with a small section about the U.S. general election voting results, when the tallies will be done and trusting the democratic process.

“It may take us a few more days, maybe even through the weekend, before anything is really finalized,” Mills said. “But I also know that lengthens out the anxiety and the stress.”

Holmes spoke afterward, expanding on the feelings of stress that are induced by keeping up with major news outlets for election coverage.

“CNN really increased my anxiety as the person controlling their digital map kept giving too many scenarios, kept comparing them to old elections,” Holmes said.

Afterward, strategies about relieving these feelings of stress were discussed, such as embracing humor, turning off the news for a while, practicing meditation, praying, eating healthy and exercising.

A student in attendance asked others at the event how to deal with family or roommates who discuss or believe in things that oppose their own opinions.

Counselor Katelyn Sandoval said the reason those individuals believe in what they do is a result of their upbringing and life experiences.

“It is hurtful sometimes when those beliefs don’t align with what you agree with, and the feelings of anger afterward are normal,” Sandoval said.

A group breathing exercise was held to help practice reducing stress at the end of the session.

Student Health and Counseling Services will host a second Post-Election Community Circle Friday from noon to 1 p.m.