Feeling Anxious About the Election?
It’s the eve of the election where I’m at. The Queen’s Gambit, a highly thrilling limited series on Netflix, is on in the background but I can hardly focus. I’m on my phone, on my computer endlessly stuck doom scrolling past posts by Facebook friends, last-minute tweets by candidates, deleting/unsubscribing from countless campaign emails, and ignoring every text.
I’m sure you are too.
As the day approaches, mainstream media is focused on reporting last-minute polls and there’s also news spreading of chaos that might erupt the day of. I have even heard talks of businesses closing up early, boarding up or friends grief-stricken if their candidate loses.
If you’re feeling restless, let’s tackle this together. A few ways to cope is to manage our expectations going in and then begin to focus on the big picture.
1. Results May Be Delayed
Breathe. Given the nature of this election, absentee ballots, and the fact that ballots can be submitted pretty much last minute, we may not have a clear answer on election night — unless there’s a landslide.
If there is no result on election night, plan how you’ll react and spend that time in wait. If you’re scanning the news, stop. Find something that might bring you joy or reduces your anxiety — get those steps, read a book, call a friend (hopefully not one that is as anxious as you, or bake).
2. Get Some Sleep
Don’t plan to stay up all night or the nights leading up to a decision if there isn’t one on election night. Sleep will only further your anxiety. Part of the planning for reducing your restlessness should include some stress-reducing habits like a warm bath, a relaxing cup of tea, meditation, yoga, or some calming music.
3. Don’t doom scroll
Doom scrolling is the habit of anxiously scrolling news feed, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever is at your disposal for any shred of news. Unfortunately, during the day and night of the election, the news will change at a very consistent pace and it will be hard to keep track of all the information that will be flowing in. This might overwhelm you so plan your scrolling carefully or if possible, only check after the polls have closed.
4. Not all hope is lost
There’s a lot at stake this election year. I know it, you know it and that’s why you’re apprehensive like I am. However, I truly believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — no matter who wins. The weeks leading up to the election have been so inspiring. Early voting is up from 2016, there are more young registered and informed voters, people are sharing their election day stories on social media and encouraging others to do the same. Voices are being heard and it has been a year of change which gives me some hope despite my overall concern and I hope it gives you a sense of calm too.
In the end, we’re all in this together on election day and the days to come. We have fought to have our voices heard. We are exhausted, we are spent and we all want this to be over. We’re almost there. So keep fighting until the end — whichever way you can and give yourself some space and grace for your fight.
We’ve got this.