It is finally here, Election Day. One of the most emotional national presidential elections ever is coming to an end. There is little chance that whoever wins on Tuesday, November 4th, 2020, millions of Americans will not be happy. Professionalism and respect seemingly have been thrown out the window, as American cities are bracing for the fallout, boarding up windows and taking extra safety precautions. Federal authorities even announced the White House is building a ‘non-scalable’ fence around the property. The nation is at a tipping point.
Due to the emotional ties to this election, exacerbated by 24/7 social media access and our 24-hour news cycle, there is also no question that this political season and the results of today’s election are going to take a heavy toll on millions of Americans. Experts say that for many, this election may cause a trauma response based on many American’s experiences during the last presidential election in 2016.
Therefore, it is important that no matter what side of the political aisle you fall on, or what candidate you support, that collectively all Americans take steps to protect and manage their emotional and mental health in the days and weeks to come. So here are some mental health tips to help you deal with this year’s presidential election.
There are many people that you may know and love that do not believe the same things as you believe or support the same candidate that you support. Additionally, many people emotionally tied to either side may be unable to act appropriately or respectfully during this time or when discussing this topic. Therefore, it is important you set boundaries with others about what you will and won’t discuss. Set clear boundaries regarding what you are willing to engage in and what you aren’t willing to engage in with others.
Manage your social media engagement and doomscrolling.
As a nation (and as a world) we have been doomscrolling since the beginning of COVID-19. Doomscrolling, or doomsurfing, is the act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online social media platforms. This can also include watching endless hours of the 24-hour news cycle. We have been conditioned to endlessly absorb media, and we are doing it more so now than ever since the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the world. In order to achieve sanity and mental health, it is important to manage this issue. Perhaps it’s getting off some or all social media platforms? Perhaps it is setting a specific time to absorb news? Whatever works for you. However, it is important not to get sucked into a rabbit hole of news via television or social media. Have a clear understanding of what you will consume and when you will consume it regarding media.
Find healthy outlets.
This goes alongside the previous points, and also something that has become increasingly important during COVID-19 while many continue to be in social isolation. Finding health outlets for your energy, and things that bring you daily joy, are more important now than ever. Reach for things that really satisfy you and fill you up emotionally. Exercise, getting outside in nature, playing with your children, meditation, reading a good book, journaling, gardening and other home projects, or watching old movies that you love are great alternatives than consuming endless amounts of media.
Be kind and compassionate.
Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, make an effort to be kind. Be compassionate. Be caring. Our nation is suffering a deep divide, and people and families are suffering due to COVID-19. People are struggling for work and employment. People are struggling with addiction, mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. The holiday season is fast approaching and many of us won’t be able to see our families and loved ones. We are all struggling with something, so make an effort to be kind. Perform small acts of kindness. Our country, and the world, could all use a little more kindness and compassion. Do something for someone, offer selfless acts, perform random acts of kindness. Helping others has never made someone feel worse, and we can all benefit from a little more good feeling right now.
And, of course, don’t forget to vote
While taking care of your mental health, also don’t forget to be an active participant in the democratic process. If you haven’t already voted, please make sure to vote on Tuesday. It may be hard for some people to believe, but yes, both democrats and republicans, as well as other political affiliations, love America. Americans feel a deep sense of pride in our country. And there is nothing better you can do to be part of the American experience and the democratic process than voting. Vote for the president and participate in your local elections as well.
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