We are still a few days out from election day, but honestly, I’m already feeling a whole lot of emotions. With so much on the line and a massive divide in our country, I can’t help but feel some anxiety, dread, and hope all at the same time. I’m at the point where I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on November 4th (don’t worry, I’ve already voted). So, if election day has you feeling all sorts of emotions, please know you aren’t alone. You don’t need to try and ignore all those feelings until the polls close. Here are a few ways to cope with all your emotions around election day.
Name how you're feeling
I preach this regarding everyday emotional health, and it still rings true during the election season. Take some time to recognize your emotions. It’s easy for us to go into autopilot and not even realize what’s going on in our heads. If you feel a little off or not yourself this week, it could be caused by all this election drama. Give yourself space to truly feel all the emotions and name what’s causing them. By permitting myself to explore my feelings, I was recognized that I was feeling a sense of betrayal from the last presidential election and what has unfolded in our country following it. Our modus operandi is often to ignore and push through emotions, especially tough ones, but when we name them, we can move towards addressing them.
Talk it out
You don’t need to cope with your feelings by yourself. Whenever our emotions kick into overdrive, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we are the only ones feeling a certain way. Nine times out of ten, this isn’t the case. We’ve all been living in this ultra divided country, and this election will impact all of our lives somehow. More likely than not, those around you are also feeling a range of emotions. Find someone you trust to share your feelings with and talk through everything. Everything feels much less overwhelming when you say it out loud.
If you haven’t made your voting plan by now, I don’t know how you could ignore all of the peer pressure, but that should be your first step. In addition to voting, think through some other actions you can take regarding November 3rd. By actively taking part in all the activities, you can focus on things you can control in a time when it feels like you have absolutely no control. It doesn’t need to be anything huge. Small steps like asking about your family’s voting plan or offering to drive friends to the polls can help. Whatever you decide to do, taking action can help you move through some of the emotions and make you feel empowered.
Monitor your media consumption
Please know that I’m telling you this as the queen of consuming media when I’m feeling unsure about a world event. I’m the one refreshing my news app and slacking updates to all my coworkers. But, if you are trying to cope with your emotions around next Tuesday, pay attention to your media consumption between now and election day. It can drain you and put you on an emotional roller coaster. I’m not asking you to go into hiding and ignore all platforms, but take note of your emotional state when you scroll through social media or click through articles. If you find that it’s negatively impacting you, take a break and check in later. Don’t let unease or anxiety drive your media consumption.
Find some hope
When I say that this election season is hugely draining, it’s not an exaggeration. There’s a lot of hate, divisiveness, and anger filling the space right now. Consider engaging in a little positive self-care by taking some time over the next few days to find some hope in your world. Give your spirits a little boost and remind yourself that there is some good happening around us. Maybe you can read some good news stories about neighbors lending each other a helping hand, or you educate yourself on local policy changes that are positively shaping the future. Whatever it is, find some time over the next few days to focus on hope for a moment to help cope with all the election emotions.
Let’s face it. This election cycle has been like nothing before, and some of us are still feeling burned by the 2016 presidential race. If you feel a whole range of emotions right now, I can promise you that you’re not alone. Even though we’re less than a week away, in some moments, November 3rd feels like it may never come. Ignoring all of our feelings that are coming with this election day can potentially exacerbate the problem. We need to lean into helpful coping techniques to support our mental health. Take care of yourself, and most importantly, please vote!