Supporting Your Mental Health During This Election Season
Although I know that politics is a “no no” topic, today I am saying who cares because politics is impacting the mental health of so many of us and I feel it needs to be addressed. I also want to add that I believe a lot of what is being turned into politics right now is actually more about morals; but that is a thought for another day. So today I am going to talk about the importance of using your voice and how to help take care of yourself during this election season.
I am not here to try and sway anyone’s beliefs with this post. The purpose of this writing is to help you be able to take care of yourself and loved ones during this very uncertain time. Please do not bring political arguments into the comments, they will be deleted and comments will be turned off. I want this to be a safe space where people can feel comfortable sharing their feelings and opinions without judgment and hate.
This election season is one that is bringing a lot of intense feelings for many of us. Therefore I felt that maybe it would be a good idea to talk about that and how we can vote to help not just our community but ourselves as well. Caring for ourselves during this time will be crucial to ensure that we do not burn out or get overwhelmed with everything that is going on.
Many individuals say “why vote, my vote doesn’t matter?”. Although I understand where this sentiment comes from, the reality is that we have to use our voices where we can because if everyone who shares this sentiment chooses not to vote that is so many unheard voices allowing for those whose views may not be the best for all individuals to be the loudest. Along with having our voice heard, voting allows us to feel a sense of belonging; control, and contribution. All of those things help us feel better in general, even if just a little bit for a little while. Voting will also help us feel like we are doing something while we are living through a time where we may feel very helpless with what is going on in our government.
Besides the voting aspect there are other pieces that are causing stress; mainly the uncertainty of what is going to happen. I don’t know what will happen, none of us do. Still we need to find a way to maintain hope that freedoms, equality, equitability, justice and love will win out against the hate and restrictions that are trying to be imposed. Hope may feel hard to find yet it will benefit you to find something to maintain your hope in to keep moving forward towards a better future.
In these uncertain times it is imperative that we are all taking care of ourselves. Some ways to do this are to find activities that you enjoy that also bring peace to participate in. Myself I read or play video games or go for walks or spend time with my family. You have to find what works for you and put it into regular practice. Self care is not just for when we are at the end of our ropes but for all the time. Self care also doesn’t have to be done alone you can include your friends or family in your self care time as well. Community helps us remember we are not carrying this weight alone.
Something that I also recommend is to try to limit news intake and social media. If you are able to not constantly be watching the political updates and just keep them in your peripheral view it honestly does help to not add to the stress. I know this is hard because we have to stay aware of what is happening around us and still we can make it work. We must also know our limits as to when to step back from what we are intaking to help not overstress about it.
Another thing that helps is to band with friends and have heartfelt conversations sharing feelings about what is going on. Ask them how they are feeling and coping with what we are facing. Set up regular check-ins with each other to help support one another. Like I said earlier, community helps us feel less alone and makes it easier to maintain our hope.
So far I have discussed caring for ourselves around everything going on. Now I want to take just a brief moment to talk about how to support yourself during the actual voting process.
If you can and you find it easier, mail in/drop off ballots may be a good option for you. These votes matter just the same and many find voting this way; especially during the time of COVID19; to be a lot easier and to feel safer.
If possible when going to vote go with a friend or loved one. Also, if you are able to vote early. In Maryland early voting is Thursday Oct 27, 2022 through Nov 3, 2022. Here is a link to find out more information https://elections.maryland.gov/voting/early_voting.html When going to vote, have your plan ahead of time: know who you are voting for, where you are going and what to expect. I always write down my votes on a sheet of paper and take it with me in case my anxiety is too high for me to remember.
After voting due something to celebrate your decision to use your voice. Treat yourself to an ice cream or coffee or a movie or a dinner, anything that will make you feel good. Just take some time to celebrate you and bring along anyone you would like to.
Even though times are uncertain we are not alone. You are not alone. Please remember that as we are going through this time. Also remember to practice self care. And most importantly please use your voice and go vote!
What things do you find helpful when you are stressed out about elections/voting/politics? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know by leaving a comment below or tagging me on social media (@therapeutichealingjourney on Instagram and @llctherapeutic on Twitter).