Hello, friends. It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? Normally for me, this time of year is when things begin to calm down – my biggest work event of the year has just ended, the days get shorter, and I begin to figure out how to deal with my mental health during those rough winter months. But since 2020 is the year where stressors won’t leave us alone, I’ll be following along with the U.S. elections tonight along with millions of other Americans. Today will be a super stressful night (to say the least), and it is looking to be a super stressful week as well. So I’m here today to make sure that you’ve got a plan in place to try and take care of your mental wellness this week.
There has been a lot of focus on self-care plans for this upcoming election, and the list of activities you can try to distract yourself (either while you’re following the events or want to distract yourself entirely) is lengthy and creative: making fun food, watching a new tv show or movie, reading a book, listening to podcasts…the list could go on for awhile. However, I want to focus less on the self-care plan itself and more on the reminder to make sure you’re doing what you need to take care of yourself this week.
I’ve written about self-care before (and even my troubles with it), but we’re in a different situation than we’re usually in. During times like these, there is a tendency to judge or attack other people who are not doing the things we’re doing, or responding to events in the exact same way. People are different in how they respond to stress, and we need to remember that. But this is also different because, unfortunately, making sure you make it through this evening might not be enough for your mental wellness. The unique nature of the election means that things could take awhile to be sorted out. Instead of fighting that fact, a tentative plan could be useful. Have phone numbers of friends and loved ones to reach out to for help. Or if you don’t want to hear from anyone, that’s okay to – you know yourself (and what you need) better than anyone!
The most important reminder is that you need to do what you can to mentally take care of yourself. There are a million and one reasons why this election is stressful, and those reasons are different for everyone. Know what might get to you, and keep those things in mind. I wish I had a more encouraging message, but this year has been difficult, to say the least, so beyond cautious optimism, there isn’t much else I can offer. Don’t be afraid to get what you need, where you need it. Regardless of what happens in this election, we will continue to fight for mental health, and for the rights of others. Good luck to you and your wellness this week, and I will see you on the other side.