This year has been in a constant state of flux. We wake each morning to news that tends to throw us off center, or make us feel unsteady. The upcoming election has a significant impact on our lives, yet there is only so much power we have in the situation. That is a perfect formula for anxiety, high significance/low power.
As we edge closer and closer to Election Day, people’s stress levels have continued to rise. The American Psychological Association (APA) found that 70% of Americans cite the election as a significant source of stress. Until the decision is final, there is little we can do to control the outcome.
Having an Election Day Plan is a wise decision that can help you temper the emotions that will likely arise.
Ideas to ease the stress…
- Make a plan to vote. If you can complete your ballot and drop it in a secure ballot box, then do so. If you choose to vote in person on election day, be prepared for long lines with your mask, snacks, water, a book, necessary medications, and an extra charger for your phone.
- Stay home if you can. Don’t make any unnecessary trips out of the house. Get groceries and supplies ahead of time. If you need to go to your place of employment, then take direct routes. Try to make your commute as easy as possible.
- Eat regular meals and drink water. Cook your favorite meal or make something simple, whichever brings you the most comfort. Stay hydrated!
- Move your body. Try putting on a few songs you love and dance in your living room. Do a few planks, crunches, or push-ups. If you have limited mobility, do gentle chair stretches, especially of your neck, shoulders, and back where we tend to carry our stress.
- Limit your access to the news. Watching election news all day can be overwhelming and unnecessary. Be in the know, but limit TV and social media news.
- Increase self-care. Spend time outside of work doing things you enjoy, such read a book, listen to music or a podcast, watch a movie, or engage in a hobby. Getting lost in an activity gives your mind a much-needed break from the stress.
- Connect with loved ones. Schedule a video or phone call with your friends or family. Spend time reconnecting and recollecting good memories.
- Spend time in nature. Step outside your home and take a few deep breaths. Notice nature with a brief mindfulness exercise of connecting with your 5 senses. What do you see, smell, taste, touch, hear? Go through each sense slowly and be present in the moment.
- Surround yourself with beauty. Light your favorite candle, wear your most comfy clothes, have photos nearby of people you love, treat yourself to a tasty snack, and gather any momentos that make you smile.
- Incorporate relaxation. Return to the Relaxation Break blog post and listen to the audio track. Try starting your day with it, then listen again at lunchtime and again right after dinner. It’s only 11 minutes long, but can give you a nice respite on a long day.
If you become highly stressed, turn off any source of news, call a friend, or quiet your mind. Take slow, deep breaths, and repeat, I’m okay. If you’re in crisis and having thoughts of suicide , please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Managing your mental health is a top priority as we go through this difficult year. If you would like information on counseling, please check out information on my website or contact me to discuss.
Take good care.