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Election Day is always stressful. Especially this year, dealing with the aftermath and political turmoil, both within one’s own community and on a national scale, will be difficult. 

Elections are a stressful time for many. There’s an abundance of uncertainty and nervous energy hanging in the air, and it can be difficult to cope with the anxiety that comes with a major election. This year, people may be more anxious than usual. There are tens of millions of mail-in ballots, voter suppression on every level, a long wait time for results and a legal battle on the horizon

How can people escape the mayhem of the election? After voting and volunteering, there may not be anything else that’s useful in a moment like this. It may be best to distract one’s mind and practice self-care.

Disengage and disconnect

Scrolling through Twitter and Facebook won’t help anyone find out the results of an election faster. It may even be upsetting to see political posts from family and friends. A poll on Facebook might portray an inaccurate version of the results. 

It’s a widespread prediction that the results most likely won’t be certain on election night, so by disconnecting from all kinds of media and resisting the urge to turn on the news, one can take care of their mental health until the election results are final.

Obtain news from reliable sources

Relying on Facebook or Twitter for election results doesn’t cut it. Social media is often an abused and misused platform, and false information can spread easily. Getting news from reputable sources can help one avoid unnecessary tension or upset. 

Most cable news channels are trustworthy, as are major news publications, such as the Associated Press. If one chooses to engage with election night coverage, it may save them time, energy and frustration to receive information from a dependable, professional source rather than social media.

 

Have a self-care night

It can be difficult to keep oneself from checking the news every few seconds during historic moments such as these. However, it could prove easier if one has something else to do. One might try practicing self-care, a habit some people may take up during the stress of the pandemic and the election.

Some common self-care tips are taking a scented bath, doing a face mask, drinking tea or watching a movie. Self-care can come in various forms, so it may look different for each person. What’s important is to figure out what self care looks like to oneself. It could be taking time to relax, eating a meal with family or friends or even doing extra homework or work.

Hang out with roommates

It may be comforting to spend time with family or friends on election night or the days following. Instead of inviting friends over and risking the spread of COVID-19, one might consider having a fun night with their family, roommates or housemates.

To put a theme on it, one could have an art night, a game night or a cooking night. One could also put a holiday twist on it and spend the time decorating their living space for Christmas or baking cookies. By setting a theme or a fun activity for the night, the election period can be an event to look forward to and not just one to dread. 

Election Day is always stressful. Especially this year, dealing with the aftermath and political turmoil, both within one’s own community and on a national scale, will be difficult. Many stores in large cities are boarding up, anticipating unrest and violence in the streets, whichever way the election goes.

By doing one’s civic duty, staying safe and staying home, one can take a deep breath. One can spend a night with friends, family or themselves. One can sit back and release the tension in their body, letting out a deep sigh of relief.

Contact Charlotte Matherly at mathercg@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.