9 Self Care Tips for Election Day & the Days After
We have been bombarded with voting for over a month now, but we haven't been focusing on ways to take care of ourselves during the process. Whether you are a social justice warrior or just worried about the outcome for your loved ones who are deeply affected, it's important to take care of yourself along the way so you don't collapse on yourself from the stress and anxiety. Not only is this election one of the most important elections in our time, it is happening during a pandemic that doesn't have an end in sight. We are in an extremely vulnerable time so we must remember to use the coping mechanisms and self care skills to keep going.
This blog isn't meant to bring up politics or try to sway you one way or the other. My intent is to give advice that anyone and everyone can use to help them take care of themselves during this time. After all we are all human and we all react to stress in similar ways despite our political party. I hope you can take at least one piece of advice from this list and incorporate it into your day or your self care routine. We will be okay if we stand together.
Self Care tip #1: Plan out your day! This may not work for everyone but if it does work for you, planning out your day, even simple tasks will make all the difference. As humans we thrive off of routine and structure. Even if you just write out a list of things you want to accomplish, it will help you not get sucked into the endless news cycle that will be going on all day. One way that I like to do this is to make a to-do list but instead of writing down only the things I need to get done, I write down everything that I will do that day. That includes making the bed, personal hygiene routines, going for a walk, reading a book, etc. It's similar to writing out a schedule, but instead of commiting to a time for each task, it gives you the freedom to choose what you will do by just checking things off the list. This also helps you feel accomplished by checking items off, even if they are simple.
Self Care tip #2: Check in with yourself & ground yourself throughout the day. This will help fight the anxiety and stress. Checking in with yourself can be anything from journaling, taking a moment to be mindful and focus on your emotions in that moment, or taking a second to consult your schedule or to-do list to see where you're at in your day. Grounding exercises will also help you check in with yourself naturally because grounding exercises in themselves are meant to be mindful. A few of my favorite grounding exercises are splashing cold water on my face (this helps me especially when I am feeling anxious), breathing exercises, meditating, listening to binaural beats (a variety of playlists can be found on Youtube or Spotify), hold a piece of ice, or one of my favorites is putting on music I like and just moving and dancing with it even if it doesn't look good. This helps stimulate our minds in a positive reaction.
Self Care tip #3: Prepare your favorite comfort food or order take out from your favorite restaurant. This doesn't mean you have to indulge, but it does mean to have something that will bring you comfort. Times like these we need to do what we can to have the comfort we need, and that can be a home cooked meal or your favorite take out. Enjoy the meal mindfully and focus on what you enjoy about it and giving your mind a break from the chaos around you.
Self Care tip #4: Take breaks from the news and social media. You don't have to know every single detail of commentary throughout the day. You also don't have to feel guilty for not knowing all the details. Chances are the different news stations will be talking about the same things, with their own biases, and it will just be going on over and over until results start coming in. Instead of getting media sensory overload, watch a comforting show, call a friend, read a book, or just relax without the tv on. Listening to the news all day won't change the outcome, so you might as well take care of yourself first to prepare for the outcome.
Self Care tip #5: Have a support system available. Whether it be in person or over the phone or internet. Lean on each other. My sister and I will facetime when we are just working or doing random things because it helps us feel less alone. We don't even need to be talking while on facetime, its just nice knowing there is someone else in our energy field. This pandemic has taken a lot of social interaction away from us so lean on the simple ways of communicating with your support system.
Self Care tip #6: Set boundaries with people, social media, news outlets, etc. that will trigger your anxiety. You don't owe anyone a debate, conversation, chit chat etc. You can set up healthy boundaries to save you energy and mental capacity without adding on stress and anxiety. This goes for social media and news outlets as well. It is not your job to know every single detail that is going on and endless scrolling on social media will only do harm for your mental health. Be mindful of your time spent on social media and watching the news and take breaks often.
Self Care tip #7: Take a walk & get some fresh air. Don't let it consume you by staying indoors all day. Let yourself breathe. The fresh air will help stimulate and clear your mind. It will help ease your stress, get your blood flowing, and give you endorphins to help you manage the rest of the night and whatever else comes your way.
Self Care tip #8: Consider staying sober. I know this can be a tough one, but you know yourself best. Don't ruin your mental health if it will put you off track the rest of the week. If you know you are only going to drink to numb the anxiety and pain then try to hold back or even have only a couple drinks. It isn't worth the hang over the next day and it isn't worth letting yourself feel sick afterwards either. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can amplify feelings of distress and sorrow. Like I said though, this is your own personal choice because you know yourself best.
Self Care tip #9: Be kind to yourself. No matter the outcome, take care of yourself first. You can't fill from an empty cup. Recharge yourself before you jump back into activism and your role as a social justice warrior. It will be okay to take a short break to care for yourself. Whether you are celebrating or dealing with feelings of despair or sadness, be kind to yourself, let yourself feel your emotions, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you feel like you need help.
I know this year has been nothing like we have dealt with before and the election is making it that much harder, but we have to remember to take care of ourselves first. Self care is important and it isn't all face masks and spa days, its taking care of our mental health and our basic day to day lives. Don't be ashamed to take the time for yourself, it will help you tremendously in the long run.
Thank you & I hope that we can get on the other side of this with a brighter future.