Elections are stressful; it’s okay if you’re losing your mind a bit. Here are some normal emotions you might be experiencing.
We’re less than a week away from the elections. While our circumstances are overwhelming and just plain weird, a mixture of emotions and feelings is inevitable. Elections are always stressful, but this year they’re contributing to an already tense climate.
This entire year has been one unexpected event after another. By the time we’re getting used to the overall malaise, something seems to suddenly happen, and we get new spikes of stress. There’s few things we can do to prepare ourselves for these changes, but it helps to accept your feelings as they come. It’s okay if you’re having trouble sleeping or spend most of your hours glued to the news. It’s okay if you can’t stand to look at your social media feed.
Here are 5 common feelings you might be experiencing ahead of the election:
If you’re not feeling overwhelmed right now then you have some exceptional coping mechanisms. We’re living under a constant barrage of change and stressors, from far off situations like global warming to near ones, like the loss of our jobs and the closure of thousands of businesses. Your body can process these feelings by making you feel more tired than usual, perhaps making you feel like you can’t tolerate everyday life stressors. When feeling overwhelmed, it’s good to create some boundaries between you and the source of your stress, whether that’s COVID or the elections. Be open with your friends and family and don’t resist the urge to mute some topics on social media.
Politicians are stressing you out
Presidential debates and ads are stressful, both of these being particularly vicious this year. The world tends to reduce these situations and transform them simply to black and white, which can leave you feeling very disturbed. Feeling stressed out is completely natural. What you can do to make this better is to be open with the people in your life, to talk out your feelings, whether you’re having a conversation or journaling on your own. Try your best to stay in the present.
It’s also okay to feel like you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Voting is a kind of happy and festive occasion, especially when you see others mobilizing and working towards some bigger change. Try to avoid people who are feeling negative, encouraging them to vote but avoiding contaminating yourself with their energy, and also let everyone process their emotions by themselves. No one knows what’s going to happen until it happens.
You’re constantly looking for distractions
Another coping method is to distract yourself with whatever is in front of you, thus, stopping your brain from screaming “election panic” every 5 minutes. Distraction is pretty useful right now, especially since this is a short term thing that’s meant to end soon (hopefully). While you shouldn’t shut down your feelings, now’s the time when you should be the most understanding with yourself. It’s okay to binge on some Netflix if you’re still completing work and staying relatively healthy.
You’re looking forward to November 4th
What most people are feeling is probably the need for this whole thing to be over and to be done with the uncertainty. Come election night, be sure to take care of yourself and surround yourself with a support system. Meditate a bit ahead of time and have some good food at the ready. While it’s impossible to plan for something that hasn’t yet happened, you can make your life a little easier by encouraging some self care.