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How to Practice Self-Care During Election Week and Beyond

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Every four years, the first week of November is an extremely pivotal time in America. On November 3, citizens of the United States will be selecting their 46th president. Millions of citizens will also experience fear and sadness if their party's candidate loses. The American Psychology Association reported that the election stresses 68% of adults in the United States. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is a phenomenon called Election Stress Disorder.
 
"Election Stress Disorder isn't a scientific diagnosis, but the concept is real," a Mayo Clinic Psychiatrist says. The stress stems from the importance of the election and the traumatic events that occurred this year. In the sections ahead, I share seven ways to cope with the upcoming days and beyond.

1. Avoid Social Media

 
On Election Day and the days following, you will feel tempted to stay on social media to keep yourself in the loop. But, this is not the best practice for your mental health. Endlessly scrolling through your feed for updates will induce fear and terror due to the repetitive content and strong opinions on each platform. You can decrease your election stress by unfollowing triggering news outlets, limiting your screen time, or staying offline for a few days.

2. Change The Conversations


 
During this time, it will be easy for your conversations to focus solely on the presidential race. A conversation fixated on the election, and only the election can be draining. Incorporate light-hearted topics into your discussions. You can talk to your friends and family about a new recipe, commentary on a TV show, or a new skincare routine.

3. Limit Your News Intake


 
If you catch yourself feeling stressed and distraught over the news, it is time to turn it off. Often, we stress over situations we have no control over. That type of stress can occur when we watch the news. Remember, you do not have control over the outcomes of the elections. You can control your day-to-day actions and interactions with people. Focus on what you can manage.

4. Stay Present and Breathe


 
Living in the present can help you focus on what matters at the moment. Often in times of uncertainty, we focus on the future, and we take for granted the present moment. In every activity you focus on during this time, make sure you are all in. Download soothings apps like Headspace or Calm on your phone or tablet to help you create and center your attention.

5. Sleep


 
Sleep is essential to brain functioning, and it helps to keep your body going. If you do not have a steady sleep schedule, create a sleep routine that will stick. You can plan to be in bed at a particular time. You can also start preparing for bed by turning off the television 30 minutes before and then removing all electronic devices from your room. 

6. Exercise

Participating in physical activity can make you feel fabulous, as well as healthy! A high-energy sweat session can be a complete mood booster during Election week. Check out @prettygirlssweat on Instagram to find workout ideas!

7. Seek Professional Help


 
If feelings of stress and anxiety about Election Day begin to overwhelm you, don't be afraid to reach out for help. You can message the crisis text line here. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800- 273-8255.

During this election cycle and beyond, it is important to practice self-care. Self-care reminds us that we are essential. When a big event like the election occurs, it is easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Follow these tips and create some of your own to use during and beyond the election.  

Which tip did you find useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
 
Zakiya Payne is a Multimedia Journalism major at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. The first-generation student enjoys writing in her journal, telling corny jokes, and shopping! A Mantra that she repeats daily is, “I am busy becoming the woman of my dreams!”