I'm not going to lie, this election has wore me out. From the moments leading up to it and on election day, there were constant rallies, signs, phone calls and campaigns all around us begging us to vote. Now with the final counts and numbers coming in, it's STILL going on. I was struggling pretty bad with anxiety and fear and with my overall mental health. When the pit in my stomach got worse then I couldn't eat. I already couldn't sleep because my mind was plagued with scenario after fearful scenario, then it started to give me headaches and affect my breathing and my body more and more.
I had enough.
I sat at my desk and looked up quotes I liked. I did some breathing exercises. I read something that really stuck with me:
Having peace and democracy are lifelong goals that are not about 1 election. We may not see the changes we want right away, but we must keep believing in the process.
Don’t stress about people who have different opinions than you do. We are only in control of our thoughts, not anybody else’s. Everyone else can think what they want. Just focus on you.
This helped me so much. I realized that to battle anxiety about the election and the future that I don't feel in control in, I had to focus on my own purpose. I literally wrote down: What is My Purpose?
My answers gave me instant relief:
1. Loving my life.
2. Helping people find love and diversity
3. Staying positive even when the world is crazy and when things don’t go my way.
4. Believing in and searching for justice .
5. Staying safe and healthy in the face of the pandemic.
6. Keeping my children healthy and educated and safe during the pandemic.
7. Being educated with truth and understanding about what I can change, but holding on to the joy that I already have now.
8. Quieting the noise in my mind about politics, racism and finding peace in my faith, my family and friends.
If you are also struggling, I encourage you to write down what your purpose is RIGHT NOW. It takes away from the stress of worrying about the future.
Some other advice:
Limit access to the people, news updates and social media when it gets to the point of stressing you out.
Be a role model to loved ones and people in your life who you admire.
Volunteer at places where you can see that you have made a difference.
Remind yourself that people are human and that we all have learning and growing to do in a season.
This season you may need to have more self care than others. This season you need to forgive more than others or pray more (or use other self care methods) and that's okay.
Bad things happen in a season, but good things happen too. Life is life. Life goes on.
Some people have a lot of work to do on themselves, but that does not have to do with you. Let them do their work and put them on the back burner of your mind.
Try this breathing exercise:
Place your left hand on your stomach and your right hand on your heart. Breathe in through the nose for four counts, then breathe out through the mouth for at least four counts. Repeat until you feel more calm.
No matter who wins or loses this election, we as Americans are in this together, so in the end, we have to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Be well. Be kind.
I hope this helps someone feel a little better.