The 2020 U.S. election is nearly here, and we’re all on the edge of our seats. We’ve endured months of non-stop election coverage, ceaseless social media discussions, and wild speculation about what the future holds, and all of us are ready for it to finally be over.
Voting is incredibly important and free elections are critical to democracy. Still, the United States has become increasingly politically polarized, and the rhetoric around the 2020 election became exhausting months ago. There has also been a strong push to encourage voting, which has led to record turnout (good!) while fatiguing many who can’t turn on the TV or log onto their computer without seeing political ads (not so good!).
A survey from The American Psychological Association found the election “is a very or somewhat significant” source of stress for more than half of Americans. There’s a name for this phenomenon: Election Stress Disorder. The next time you feel a pit in your stomach when you see an inflammatory post on social media or one too many yard signs, know you are in good company.
Adding to this stress, some officials are guessing it may take days before we know the results for sure. This means a good chunk of November may be dedicated to continued political discussions and uncertainty about who will reside in the White House. Add surging COVID-19 cases and continued work from home policies to the mix and it’s shaping up to be an eventful month.
Whether you suffer from full-blown Election Stress Disorder or mild anxiety around casting your vote, there are things you can do to take care of yourself and manage your mindset. Read on for Be’s best tips for managing election stress.
- Have a plan: Whether you want to ignore the election or watch the results come in, have a plan. Know where you are going to be and when. And even if you’re in quarantine, you don’t have to be alone. Plan a Zoom or phone call with friends and family, if you’d like.
- Do a loving kindness meditation: No matter your political affiliation, we can all agree the world needs more love and kindness. Meditate on this, focusing on sending love into the universe, and be sure to join Be Meditation’s Loving Kindness eventon Tuesday morning, to root yourself in positivity and community.
- Take a breath: If you begin to feel overwhelmed, pause, and take a breath. Do this as much as you’d like in the days leading up to the election and after November 3rd. A deep breath will calm your nervous system and reconnect your mind with your body. Remember to pause as much as you need.
- Know your limits: Listen to your body. If you are watching the news and feel yourself spiraling into anxiety, turn it off or walk into another room. Have a back-up plan if you need a mental break from the election. Zone out to a mindless TV show or listen to an interesting podcast if you need a distraction from the madness. It’s important to be informed, but don’t be afraid to step away if you need a break.
- Be selective: Disengage from opinionated friends or family members or simply tell them you don’t want to discuss politics. You don’t have to feel guilty for protecting your peace of mind. This also goes for news and social media. Don’t search for things that will set off your anxiety.
- Get outside:If you can, take a walk and get outside on Election Day. Look at the trees and take a breath of fresh air. Smile at anyone you pass. Moving helps connect your mind to your body and puts things into perspective.
- Prioritize sleep: It might be tempting to stay up all night listening to the news or pouring over blog posts but getting proper sleep will help you cope with the anxiety. Also, be prepared for encountering trouble falling asleep and be prepared with a few meditations to relax.
- Practice community care: Tending to your community will be important, no matter the election results. Make a plan to give back in the weeks after the election through volunteering, reaching out to a friend in need, or donating to a cause you believe in. Giving back to your community will help you have a positive impact on where you live, no matter the election results. Read more about community care here.
- Future fun:Plan a fun activity for the weekend following the election so you have something to look forward to. It could be a weekend getaway or a Zoom call with friends. Find a good book or movie and order takeout. No matter the size or scope of your plans, having something to think about if you begin feeling anxious or down, will help you improve your mindset.
We hope you will join us for a Loving Kindness meditation on Tuesday morning. This event will bring together like-minded individuals who want to root themselves in happiness and peace on Election Day. Start your morning in the right frame of mind with Be Meditation.
And remember that no matter what happens, you aren’t alone. You can find a loving community with Be Meditation throughout this week and into the future. Be sure to stack your calendar with breaks and meditation to keep calm and steady throughout this year.