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Many of us are still reeling from the stress of online education and trying to find coping mechanisms to living in the middle of a global pandemic. The election, however, has managed to add a new weight to our already demanding lives. The election has taken many twists and turns with delays in counting, the expected but off-putting slander, and the burden of the future impacts— as if 2020 needed to get more stressful, right?

So many different topics have been brought up for discussion from healthcare to virus response to global climate change, some of which may have been difficult and triggering to consider. This has impacted mental health nationally, amidst the stressors already in place. You’re not alone through this, as many people are facing the exact same fears during this time. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are at an all time high during this taxing time, and they’re taking many shapes and forms to disorient many individuals. It’s okay to focus on self-care and step away from the arduous tasks of daily life every now and then, so give yourself a break! What are a few ways that you can do this?

  • Focus on what you can control. While you may not be able to directly change national politics, you can get involved in your local community. Participate in activism and have socially conscious discussions. Small changes can add up to make bigger ones. 

  • Prioritize self-care. It’s okay to lessen your professional and personal burdens every now and then in order to take care of yourself. This isn’t an excuse to skip out on your commitments, but take some time to make your favorite meal, or watch that funny movie. It’s well-deserved!

  • Reach out. A support system may be more important than you think right now. Talk to friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and anyone else that you feel comfortable contacting during this time. Watch for signs of depression and anxiety, and reach out to a certified counselor or therapist if needed. 

  • Know your triggers. Many uncomfortable conversations may take place during this time, and our reactions are important for both our own health as well as for others’. Set boundaries for your media intake, the types of conversations you have, and what you can do at this time. 

As bleak as this might sound, the stress will last long after the election, as some of us might already be feeling. It’s our job to minimize and manage that stress, for each other and for ourselves. This is just a gentle reminder that I think we all need to hear every now and then: you got this! You are the priority, so make sure that you’re taking care of yourself during these unprecedented times.

I'm a pre-medical student attending Michigan State University, with hopes of becoming a physician in the future. I love to spend time with family and friends, cook and bake, draw, and read in my free time.
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