Today is Election Day. On this day, America will vote for who we want to be our President for the next four years. A typical election day brings with it a level of excitement and anxiety, but this year is different. 2020 has been one of the hardest years for multiple reasons, and while I hadn’t been looking forward to this election it feels worse than I could have ever imagined. Businesses are boarding up in anticipation of civil unrest, voters are being harassed, and thousands of people are still being infected with a virus that we know almost nothing about. If you’re feeling anxious or nervous about this election, please know that you are not alone. Here are some tips to help all of us go through this tumultuous time together:
- Designate specific times that you will check the news: It’s easy to find yourself in a downward news spiral with our 24/7 access to news, but this will only keep you feeling more anxious. Pick a certain time during the day that you will spend watching or reading the news. Try and limit it to a reasonable amount of time maybe 15-30 minutes, and then turn it off.
- Check in with your body:We all experience anxiety differently, I hold my tension in my shoulders and in my jaw. I know when I am anxious, even if I don’t always know what I am anxious about. If you find that you are already feeling very anxious, watch something else instead that will calm your body down. For me this would be something like the Great British Baking Show or a show that I’ve already watched before. You might find that once you’re done, you won’t even want to watch the news.
- Try and move your body:Since many of us spend our time sitting down, hunched over a computer our bodies are stiff. Finding time to do some light stretches, going for a walk, or doing some yoga helps us to shift our minds back into our bodies and out of the constant barrage of emails and notifications. Set aside time every day to move your body, whether it’s first thing in the morning or setting reminders throughout the day to stretch.
- Turn off notifications: After watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I went through and turned off all notifications for my social media. If your weak point is the news, then turn off notifications for the news or if you can keep your phone on silent or do not disturb. The constant access that our phone provides can create anxiety by keeping us connected 24/7. Put the phone down, and walk away for a few minutes. I promise everything will be there when you get back.
For all my fellow Americans who are reading this, if you go out to the polls to the vote I hope you are safe and able to exercise your right to vote. None of us know what the future holds, which is what makes it so scary. But we will get through this together. Wishing everyone a beautiful Election Day!