Election Week Stress? Here is a Guide to Prepare for the Week Ahead

November 3rd is this week, a day that most of us have been waiting for since the last presidential election four years ago. This is the most important election in our lives thus far—it is monumental. Turning eighteen earlier this year, I was able to vote for the first time along with so many in my generation. To see so many young people raising their voices, there is hope for a new president in the White House, but still, there is a consuming fear. This fear is something we many of us are dealing with: feelings of uncertainty and doom surrounding what will happen if we have to repeat the presidency from the last four years. This week holds our future, and going into it not knowing what the end will look like is something that every American is doing right now. Here are some ways to prepare for such a stressful, yet hopeful, upcoming week.

Get out the vote

If you are of age, make sure you have voted early or make a plan to vote on November 3rd. Regardless of the voting method you choose, voting is one of the most powerful tools we have. It is our duty to use it. 

In most states, if not all, you can check the status of your ballot through your Secretary of State’s office. Doing this will allow you to feel confident that your vote has been counted. Tell your friends, tell your family. Each individual vote counts, so make sure that yours was seen and heard.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst

As my mom reminds me, “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” Of course, we all need to have hope for the future of our country, but we also need to be prepared for what happens if the current president gets reelected because, unfortunately, that could be a reality. Finding organizations to support, petitions to sign, or volunteer opportunities are some ways to make sure that positive change still happens in this country regardless of the outcome on election night. Get involved; our democracy needs you. 

Make sure you are staying up to date with current information 

In this election, there will be a much higher percentage of people who voted by mail. This means that these ballots will mostly take longer to get counted, and so there is a large possibility we will not know the outcome on election night. In fact, it might be a couple of days until there is a final decision. Do not take this longer process as defeat, just make sure to keep up with the current status of the polls throughout the week.

Check reliable social media accounts -- but don't stay tied to your phone

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. Although it is a quick way to stay up to date on current news regarding the election, make sure the sources are reliable. People will be flooding media accounts with all kinds of information both positive and negative, both true and false, so do not listen to everything you read. Social media can also add to the stressful and anxious feelings that many are already feeling towards this election. It can be overwhelming and unproductive to scroll through multiple posts about the outcome of election night. So, do not spend the whole day on social media. 

One social media account that is reliable is Conn College’s very own Camels Vote! Be sure to check out their Instagram account (@camelsvote). They are constantly posting important information about the voting process and will definitely have different resources available throughout these upcoming days. 

Have conversations with friends and family

You are not alone in your stress. Having conversations with friends and family to ease anxious thoughts and feelings will not only benefit your mental wellbeing, but it could help them as well. We are all going through this uncertain, frightening week together so it is important to lean on each other. Conversations that have nothing to do with the election are also just as necessary. Give yourself a break from overanalyzing and overthinking and have normal, daily conversations too. Your brain is going to need some breaks from this consuming election and that is okay. It does not mean you are not invested, it just means you need some time away whether that is a few minutes or an hour.

 

Whatever happens this coming week, a new day will still come, and a new one after that. We will all still be here regardless. November 3rd, 2020 has been a long time coming, and it is easy to feel caught up in thinking about this one day. But what comes after is even more important. Be present but also be focused on the future we have ahead. Allow yourself time for grief or celebration, whichever one you may feel depending on the verdict. Then look forward and see how you can be part of the making of the future.