The stress of the 2020 election has been compounded by delayed results and the existing pressures of the pandemic. With high stakes and uncertainty for the future, the political landscape has become especially anxious, over the last week. With the constant checking of the election map and as the news becomes familiar background noise in your home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the overload of information. As the votes are being counted, and even after the results come in, it is important to take a break from the distressing influx of news to take care of your well-being.
- Take a Break from Social Media
Even when it isn’t election season, we’re all guilty of scrolling for much longer than we should and slowly falling down a social media hole. The constant refreshing of pages and desire for updates can cause anxiety by reinforcing hopelessness and frustration. Taking a break from social media gives you the space to reflect on what’s going on and process how its effecting you. Taking a break from the endless feed of information also gives you the chance to figure out how you can effectively consume media and stay informed without overwhelming yourself.
Meditation is known for reducing stress and anxiety, by providing the space to practice mindfulness. Taking a few moments to clear your mind and refocus your energy can really help to better manage challenging circumstances. Deep breathing is one of the simplest forms of mediation: inhale deeply on a count of three, and slowly exhale on another count of three. There are also a lot of great resources on YouTube for more engaging, guided mediations.
- Talk to Family and Friends
During these uncertain times, it’s not only important to take care of yourself, but your loved ones as well. Checking in on your family and friends to see how they’re handling the situation can be a comforting reminder that you’re not alone in your worries. With so much at risk in the current election, sharing your fears and concerns for the future can be really cathartic. Having to confront and process all of the information on your own can feel isolating, so communicating with others can help a lot in getting through it all. Whether you’re confused, scared, anxious, restless, or all of the above, remember that you are not alone.
- Find a Distraction
The overwhelming fear and anxiety of the election can be really draining. While it is important to stay informed and engaged, being emotionally invested in it all can leave you feeling burnt out. Finding a healthy distraction and making time to indulge in your favorite activities is definitely necessary to give your brain a break. Whether it is watching your favorite comfort tv show (mine is New Girl) or doing a hobby, a good distraction can give you a piece of mind amidst the chaos.
- Get Enough Sleep
Ruminating over the election results and potential consequences of the outcome definitely takes a toll on our well-being. I’ll be honest, I had a stress-induced dream about politics the night after election day and I’m sure the has stress similarly manifested itself in your sleeping patterns over the last week. In already trying to navigate personal and academic stress, the election has only increased restlessness. Sleep is arguably one of the most important parts of maintaining our wellbeing. Although it can be tempting to stay up all night and watch for updates, you need to give yourself a break by going to bed to recharge for the next day. You can catch up on the news, but it’s not as easy to catch up on sleep.