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How to cope with election anxiety

Tips for caring for yourself

It’s an exhausting moment in American history for most of us. There is tension in the air, the amount of uncertainty and worry feels overwhelming. It’s a stressful time for so many of us, and this is your reminder that your anxiety around this election, the general state of our country and world’s future, and the rights that are at stake is VALID. Especially for BIPOC, disabled, LGBTQ, working class, and other marginalized communities. If your anxiety is at an all time high, we ask that you take some time to care for yourself. Here are a few ways to cope with election anxiety and practice self-care.

1. Remember, you’re allowed to feel. First, know that it is okay to feel emotional. Cry, scream, curse, honor your humanness. The poll results have revealed just how divisive this country is. This realization is heartbreaking and exhausting for many of us, so feel your feels. You don’t have to hold it all together right now. Instead, be gentle with yourself. Hold compassion for how you process (whatever that looks like to you).

2. Check in with yourself. Be aware of how your body is feeling. Is your heart racing? Is your jaw clenched? Maybe it’s time to turn off the news. Remember to pay attention to how you’re feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you find yourself constantly refreshing news sites, or endlessly scrolling through social media, take a moment to set your phone down, take a deep breath, and protect your energy and settle your nervous system. It is okay to rest. It is okay to relax.

3. Connect with your support system. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with friends, family, a therapist, or support systems either in person or virtually, are all great ways to remind yourself that your feelings are justified and valid. After processing (whether this means crying, laughing, or talking) with community you will realize you aren’t alone.

4. Practice basic self-care. Cover the basics. Stay hydrated, remember to eat, get enough sleep, and prioritize your physical comfort (make sure your comfiest blanket, pair of socks, or sweatpants are accessible).

5. Move your body. Go for a walk, dance, shake or wiggle your arms and legs, run, practice yoga or any other type of body movement that feels good. Movement is a great way to release tension you might be carrying in your body from stress and anxiety. Try not to get caught up in the pressure to “exercise”. Focus only on moving your body. My favorite way to move my body is to blare 90’s R&B and dance my heart out, I really recommend.

6. Use breath work. One simple way to practice breath work is by using the 4-7-8 method. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This can be especially helpful when having trouble sleeping.

7. Journal. Try journaling any way that feels right. If a gratitude journal sounds laughable right now, try a mind dump. Set a timer for 5 to 30 minutes and write anything and everything that comes to mind. This is a judgement free zone and a great opportunity to let it all out. Here are a few prompts to choose from:

  • What future would you like to see?

  • How can you take the steps needed to make that future happen?

  • What do you feel most passionate about?

  • What can you do to ensure a better, safer, more compassionate world?

  • What are things that help calm me?

  • What are some good things I can list?

  • What am I grateful for?

8. Meditate, pray, and find intentional moments of stillness. Take however long you need to honor the quiet. Speak allowed to your ancestors, or a higher power. Tell yourself comforting words, and remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. Ask the universe for strength, and guidance. If you’re experiencing an overwhelming amount of thoughts, try using a guided meditation, here’s one to start with. Use a scent like a candle, incense, or meditation spray to focus on. Or try holding something in your hand like a crystal, string, or a rock.

We hope you found these tips comforting and helpful. We will get through this. Take time to check in on yourself because in order to create a better, more compassionate future for us all and this planet, we must care for ourselves first.

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