The day the world has been waiting for with wide eyes is finally within sight: the United States’ 2020 election on Nov. 3.
Amid a global pandemic for which current sitting President Donald Trump has been criticized for mishandling, a divided government, and a convoluted Supreme Court justice confirmation, the stakes for a presidential election have never felt higher.
With the current political climate comes a plethora of mental health issues. Some individuals even are suffering from Election Stress Disorder during this time.
The stress of the election—combined with the high stakes for LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and minority groups—will make election night a nail biter. With that in mind, it’s important to take care of yourself as the results roll in on Nov. 3. Here are some self-care tips and strategies for election night to help manage your election anxiety:
Limit social media usage
“Doomscrolling” is the act of constantly scrolling through social media feeds containing negative news. In other words, it’s the unhealthy consumption of news on social media. It’s also something we’re all guilty of from time to time.
Whenever big political news breaks on social media or people live-tweet political events, it’s all too tempting to hop on apps like Twitter for large chunks of time. However, constantly refreshing your Twitter feed on election night won’t make the ballots get counted any faster. On election night, make sure not to stay glued to apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Block out times for breaks. You’ll feel less drained—and stressed—if you take breaks and set the phone down for a bit.
Journal your thoughts
With polling numbers only being so accurate and swing states leaving room for questioning, election night will inevitably be a roller coaster. If your head feels like it’s sinking while trying to swim amongst the chaos, journaling can be a great way to stay afloat.
Grab your favorite notebook or simply open the notes app on your phone and jot down how you’re feeling. Getting your thoughts out there can help you better process and understand them. It also helps center you and feel more at peace as a whirlwind of information reaches you throughout the night.
Host a Zoom watch party
No one likes to be alone when they’re anxiously waiting for results on something important. Election night is no exception. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, large election watch parties are now a relic of the past.
So, find an alternative way to interact with others and avoid isolating yourself during what’s sure to be a long, tense night. Hop on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or FaceTime with a friend or two during election night. The virtual company will have you feel less alone as you sit by the TV for hours, waiting for the latest polling numbers. It can also help you get out of your own head for a bit.
Meditation is not just a way to pass the time on election night; it also has a variety of health benefits. Meditation can help with stress, anxiety, and symptoms of other medical conditions.
With a variety of apps and videos you can use to follow along to, it’s also very accessible. There are also multiple forms of meditation,—such as guided, mantra, and yoga—so there’s bound to be something out there for you.
Go out and actually vote
Nothing will give you more peace of mind on election night than actually casting your vote before the polls close.
There’s a lot out of your control on election night. Millions of votes will be cast across the country, many in states you don’t live in. However, knowing you fulfilled your civic duty lets you take command over the only factor you can control on Nov. 3: your own ballot. Get out there, and then wear your “I Voted Sticker” with both relief and pride.