An American Psychological Association survey finds that more than 68 percent of US adults say the election is a significant source of stress in their lives, ahead of the most divisive election in a decade.
Elections are one of the world’s most closely watched political events, and election and mental health. Perhaps you’ve been watching the news from the comfort of your own home. Maybe you’re constantly refreshing online voting polls. Alternatively, perhaps you were phone banking, texting, or going door-to-door in the days prior. But the election is over, the polls are closed, and you’re probably still feeling anxious and stressed. It’s even been given a name by experts: Election Stress Syndrome.
Let’s talk about your self-care plan now that you’ve completed your voting strategy:
1. Listen to your body
With all of the attention on the political body, how is your own physical body doing? Take a break from your screens to check in with yourself. Have you been staying hydrated by drinking water? If you’re a stress eater, try substituting some vegetables and fruits for that election night pizza. Because how we care for our physical bodies impacts our mental health, it’s critical to cover the basics.
Make those doctor’s appointments you’ve been putting off, or get your flu vaccine. Get some oxygen into your system by going for a walk or hiking. To relieve stress, organize a Zoom dance party with your friends.
According to studies, exercise is a frequently overlooked aspect of mental health. Walking, dancing, and yoga are examples of aerobic exercises that can help with anxiety and depression.
2. While listening to music, do some simple tasks
Reorganize your closet, wash the dishes, and do your laundry while listening to music. Simple tasks can provide us with a sense of purpose and accomplishment in our daily lives. It restores a sense of normalcy that has been sorely lacking over the past few weeks.
Furthermore, listening to music while performing those tasks can benefit your mental health. Art and culture, in general, have been shown to improve mental health. Music, in particular, has a really positive effect on the “happy” chemicals in your brain, dopamine, and oxytocin. So turn off the news, change the radio station, and listen to a favorite musician’s album.
3. Make contact with people
After the barrage of media, news, and information is thrown at you by others over the last several weeks, if not months, it’s easy to isolate yourself instinctively. Loneliness, on the other hand, can be dangerous. It’s an excellent first step for many people who are anxious or burned out to start talking and sharing their feelings.
Consider who’s the energy you want to be around as you make those phone calls and texts. Perhaps family members will be able to come together for some much-needed comfort and relaxation. Maybe it’s a group of friends who cared just as much about the election and mental health as you did and are already planning the next steps. Perhaps all you require is a little more time.
Finally, remember that you have the potential to be a force for good and that to do so, you must take care of yourself. There is always more to fight for, and there will always be more to fight for.