Blog, Social Justice

Taking Care During the Election

Black woman with an afro reading a book. Text in the top right corner that says "Take Care" in curly letters

2020 has been stressful enough with a global pandemic that has thrown off all of our lives, and for the past three months we have had reminders through every piece of media possible to remind us all to go vote (we need this same energy for every election). Now that the day has come (and hopefully you have casted your ballot), how can you stay sane waiting for the results? No fear friends! We have some tips to help keep the peace while the world seems like it’s in turmoil.

Chill out

I know, easier said than done. Do what you need to do to relax. Start by unclenching your jaw. Release your shoulders away from your ears. Notice any tension in your body and relax it.

Now that we’ve done this, grab your book, pour you a glass of wine (or water if you need something lighter, or something else if you need something stronger), put on a face mask. Do whatever you love that helps you unwind.

Unplug from the news

If you’re anything like my mom, CNN has been on in the background for months now. These are the days of going down media rabbit holes because there is constantly new business popping up in the news, especially when it comes to coverage around the election.

Use this day to disconnect from the constant chatter. You shouldn’t feel guilty for finding time to disengage if it means protecting your mental health. You can continue being the responsible and informed citizen later. And if you must stay connected, set a limit for how much news you consume.

Participate in a cleansing ritual

If you’re into the witchy vibes, use this as an opportunity to cleanse your space of negative energy. So many bad vibes have been thrown around during the course of this election season and it’s easy to inadvertently take that energy into your space. Bust out the sage or the palo santo and perform a cleansing ritual to clear out any negative energy.

And if you’re not into the witchy stuff, that’s cool too. If washing dishes centers you, wash those dishes. If you’re an angry cleaner (like me), clean to your heart’s content. If you want to reorganize your bookshelf, do that!

Get moving!

Exercise is an amazing way to release some of those good endorphins and reduce stress. Find different ways to move your body on this day. Do some gentle yoga and connect your movement to your breath (there’s also some fun and free videos on YouTube from some cool yogis you can do right in your living room). You could go for a walk around your neighborhood, or if you’re a maniac like me, you could go for a run.

If you really want to have a good time you can have a dance party! Dance with your partner. Dance with your roommate. Dance with your furry friend. Dance by yourself! Let loose and dance as well or as bad as you want.

Host or attend a watch party

If you feel up to watching the results as they come in, join or host a watch party. It can be really good to have the people in your tribe around you for support. It can help to have people to laugh or cry with. Friends don’t let friends watch presidential races alone.

And if your community doesn’t find watch parties fun, you can join some of the virtual ones hosted by different advocacy organizations!

Get a good night’s sleep

But if watch parties, or watching the results aren’t your thing, you could always get caught up on your beauty rest. Take that extra step of disengagement and turn off the television and your brain and go to sleep earlier. We all need to do a better job of normalizing the importance of rest.

Whatever happens, happens, and you can find out in the morning. Yeah, it’s not the best way to start off the day, but at least you won’t lose any sleep!

Take the next day off

Hopefully you can be proactive and have this day already blocked off on your calendar, but if not call in sick or take a mental health day. Take this time away from people to figure out a game plan on how to navigate uncomfortable conversations with friends and family if they have different political beliefs from you.

Whatever the results of the election, make sure you take the time to rest and regroup. Whether you are taking time for yourself, or finding things that energize you, the work doesn’t stop just because the election is over.

Tayler Simon is a nerdy black woman in search of liberation for all. When she's not reading/listening to audiobooks and writing, you can find her laughing at memes and chatting incessantly about astrology (Cancer/Sagittarius/Cancer). Favorite genres: African American fiction and memoir.

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