Friday, November 11, 2016

Flipping The Classroom With FIZZ: Katie Gimbar & Dr. Lodge McCammon at T...

Post Election Stress Disorder Symptoms and Solutions

Post Election Stress Disorder (P.E.S.D)
5 Signs You Have It and What to Do

Regardless of whom you voted for in the 2016 Presidential election, there is one thing we all can agree on. It was stressful! For the past year people have been heated on social media, blocking and un-friending those on "the other side." Families have been arguing. Spouses have been at odds. Now that the election is over, one side will feel the stress associated with the loss. We spoke with Dr. Sanam Hafeez, NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher's College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, who shares the signs of Post Election Stress Disorder and what to do about it.

1. Your stomach is in knots!
According to Dr. Hafeez, stressing out about the future of our country can certainly manifest in physical discomfort. When you ruminate about the worst-case scenario it can lead to stomach tension, nausea and lack of appetite. She advises to take a break from news coverage and discussing the election results. "You want to be informed but YOU want to be in control of the news you are seeking out. Select one media outlet that you want to get your news from. Check in the morning and then focus on what you have to do that day."

2. You can't focus!
Your mind wanders and you keep worrying about the next 4 years of your life. These wandering thoughts lead to a lack of focus. Dr. Hafeez explains that when we are fixated on a thought and are in a state of worry, it is difficult to give full attention to anything else. Her advice, "go for a 30 minute walk, exercise, meditate by lying still focusing on your breath, color in a coloring book or get a ball and have a catch. You want to choose tasks that are repetitive, pleasurable, calming and don't require a lot of focus."

3. You can't sleep!
You're tossing and turning and can't seem to get to that deep level of sleep. "This is a true sign of anxiety and stress," flags Dr. Hafeez. Sleep is when our bodies turn over cells, fight off illness and are fully relaxed. When stress disturbs sleep for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to a slew of illnesses including, depression and mental illness, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.  "Avoid watching the news before bed as it can evoke worry and negative thoughts. Get into the practice of writing down all the things you appreciated that day so you calm down and drift off on a positive note."

4. You're snippy with everyone!
You feel on edge and angry. Anything can set you off. Your cell phone doesn't work and you throw it across the room. You're screaming in traffic. You're irritable at work and prefer the door to your office closed so you can avoid everyone. Dr. Hafeez explains that it is normal to have a short fuse when stressed. Unfortunately the people we love the most get the fallout from our stress. "Put yourself in a 'time out.' Notice what is setting you off and avoid it for a day or two. Book a spa massage, take a long bath, pamper yourself, cash in on some well needed 'me time.' Within hours your mood will shift, "offers Dr. Hafeez.

5. You're not in the mood for love.
When stressed it's common for sexual desire to wane. When your mind is on other things the last thing you want to do is get romantic. According to Dr. Hafeez starting off with sensual touch is calming. "Simply being in the bed holding hands breathing for 2 minutes can work wonders. Don't rule out sex, ease into it. Avoiding sex only adds another thing to be stressed about and sex is a stress reliever. You need those feel good brain chemicals to beat the stress," she reminds us.

So try not to be bummed out and stressed out if your candidate didn't nab the presidency. Things could be far worse. YOU could be President of the United States. Now THAT is something to be stressed about.

About the doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher's College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today's common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and The Doctors.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or at

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Living and Working in Afghanistan


It takes a certain kind of person to live and work in Afghanistan. I’ve been doing it for four years. I
work as a property manager. I supervise staff who care for facilities, equipment, and vehicles for a private contractor who serves the U.S. government.
Kabul Street by Ilya Varlamov (Flickr)

We live in a secure camp, like a compound with walls and gates. We work there, eat there, and sleep there. While we are safe, we get out very little. Nights are spent mostly watching television, reading, writing, and communicating with family. It can be boring and gets tiresome quickly.

The hardest part is being away from family. Life is completely different here because we don’t have family. We can’t go out anytime. We can’t go out to movie theatres, bars, clubs, etc. Because you are away from the regular way of life, you truly miss it.

What we do is important because we provide an essential service. I work mostly with Americans and Brits, but we also have local Afghans who work with us. Some live here but most go home at night.
We have a MWR center on the camp which provides support and leisure services to camp residents, including contractors like myself. (MWR stands for morale, welfare, and recreation.) Included are a Post Exchange, coffee shops, and church services for all faiths.

Western style home in Kabul 
Some living and work places are Afghan-free, because they don’t allow Afghan people. Ours is not like that. Afghan people work and live in our camp. However, I’m not allowed to go to Afghan homes for security reasons. I’ve been invited to weddings and other events, but can’t go. It’s disappointing. Life would be much easier if we could mingle freely with the Afghan people. I have not been able to visit the mosques or tourist sites in the city.

While Afghans are typically friendly and hospitable, they also may be very private. Their homes may be surrounded by a wall, with only one entrance that leads to a greeting room and visiting room. When male guests visit, women are not present. Men are considered the breadwinners and take pride in providing for their families, including their aged parents. Women, however, play an important role in the household and may have control over domestic affairs and finances. Afghan women are treated with great respect. This may not be true with western women who Afghan men may regard as promiscuous. Even western women, who are dressed conservatively, may be jostled or touched in public.

See more about Afghan culture at  

Compound - ABC Photo