Election Week Self- Care

Pick and choose from the menu of options

This week the media has been reminding us that this election, like most recent elections, won’t be settled on November 3. Of course, the dream is for there to be a clear winner and clear loser, the loser concedes gracefully, and a peaceful transfer of power occurs. But who am I kidding? We know that won’t happen.

Many of us are exhausted from this year, which has come on top of an unprecedented 4 years. So much is at stake with this election. But we all know that. Now, we need to get through the next several days as we wait for results.

This year has already lasted decades, and it looks like Tuesday alone could last several years. Here are tips to make it through, whether you recharge by ignoring everything or by knowing everything.

Stock up

We don’t know how the days following the election are going to shake out. In my neighborhood, stores and pharmacies are boarding up windows, although they are open for now. For your safety and peace of mind, stock up on food and snacks. If alcohol is your thing, check your liquor cabinet. I’m not advocating for you to go wildly off your eating plan or drink yourself into a stupor, but food and drink are well- known methods of self-soothing. As long as you are not endangering your physical or mental health, it is OK to self-soothe in this manner.

Build yourself a quiet cocoon

We are exhausted from calling voters, writing letters to swing states, or simply because everything is much more challenging during the pandemic. If you are depleted and want to sit out the next few days, no news is good news. Here’s how.

  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode, so only important calls and texts can come through
  • Optional add-in: turn off news notifications from all news sites or all but one site
  • Restrict your mindless scrolling through social media sites and email. Do this by setting a timer or set your phone for time limits on specific programs and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. If you are a social media junky like me, you might need to temporarily delete apps from your phone.
  • Put your phone in another room if possible. I was shocked when my phone told me how many times a day I picked it up. It’s a mindless habit that will challenge any peaceful atmosphere you are trying to create.

Keep busy

What will you do for the next 48–72 hours, especially if you are trying for a media blackout or even a brown-out?

Television: Decide now what you will watch, so you don’t click on election results. Queue it up and be very clear with yourself that you will watch only those shows and those only. No news, no talk shows.

Books: Get them ready in your favorite reading space. Download from the library or your favorite site ASAP so you don’t have to go online to get more reading material during the crucial Tuesday-Thursday window.

Hobbies: This is a great time to catch up on knitting, crocheting, cooking, baking, or really almost anything that will soothe you and help you relax. Again, download needed instructional videos as soon as possible.

Video games: Whether it’s Animal Crossing or The Last of Us 2, video games are a great way to keep your mind off the events unfolding. Avoid any game chats with those who might draw you into political discussions.

Sleep

Sleep has been difficult. Here are some hints: Change your sheets. Sage your room. Take a hot bath before bed. Perhaps a cozy pillow fort? Heck, sleep in the dog bed with the dogs. Sounds comfy to me. Think about what will help ease your exhaustion and anxiety and do it.

SuperStar Level: Turn off your phone and stay home from work for a few days.

OK, but I’m not that type. I need to know

If you need to know, great! Election news will be everywhere. The trick is deciding which information is valid. Be mindful that news on Election Day may not be entirely accurate due to quickly changing circumstances. Again, the results of the election most likely will not be known Tuesday. Read social media carefully, and please do not re-post anything that is not from a vetted news source.

As the results become apparent, two organizations to watch are the ACLU and Protect the Results. Both organizations are working to make sure every vote is counted and the results accepted.

As for me, I have healthy meals, wine, snacks, and chocolate. I’ve got a lot of work Tuesday to keep me busy. Tuesday night, I’ve been invited to a Zoom party to watch the results come in. I am mostly staying off social media. I may remove apps from my phone to keep me from doom scrolling all night on Election Night. I will definitely be on Animal Crossing.

This election is vital. However, if you’ve already voted, there is nothing more to do now (and if you haven’t voted, GO VOTE). Ruminating and stressing about uncontrollable things will only wear you down. After Tuesday, when we find out the results and any subsequent issues, we can once again start working for our future. In the meantime, while we are waiting to find out what that future may hold, be kind to yourself and others. Stay safe. And make that pillow fort.

Feminist, dirty liberal, thoughtful absurdist.

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