November 3, 2020. The day that the country has been looking towards with mixed emotions for months. In March we were hit with a global pandemic and from there the issues continued to snowball. From murder hornets, to lock downs, and everything in between it has been very easy to be overcome with stress and anxiety this year. As we prepare for the events of today and what is potentially going to follow, it is important that we ground ourselves. As stress inducing as this election and everything that has come with it is, there are steps one can take to mitigate stresses and find growth through the tumultuous atmosphere we are living in.
One of the biggest things that can be done at this time is to educate oneself about the truth of the global climate. In order to do this it is necessary to read, read, and read some more. Seeking out reliable sources, reading from both sides of the aisle, and fact checking what appears in the media are some ways of informing oneself. It can also be useful to listen to podcasts, or even watch something more satirical such as "The Daily Show". The news itself can become repetitive and nerve-provoking. By reading up on issues that flood the media we can better understand not only what is happening but also the reality of possible outcomes.
Along with reading and educating oneself it is important that we continue to converse with people no matter how uncomfortable a conversation may become. Especially as things begin to unfold today, it can be a relief to talk through issues with someone. Although we ourselves may not be all knowledgeable or powerful, a simple conversation can bring us to the center or reality of a situation. The conversations may not always be easy, but should be productive and focus on learning. We will move forward as a society and away from stress the more we can openly discuss with one another in hopes of positive outcomes, or at least mutual understanding.
Another step to take today to reduce the amount of stress one may be facing is to seek resources. Today's election will have different physical and emotional effects on everyone. It is therefore imperative we look out for each other today, and in the days to come. Reach out to friends, family, mental health resources, and anything else available if the stress becomes overwhelming. Again, we must at this time find strength and growth, rather than continue to divide ourselves.
Along with all of this it is crucial to step away if it becomes too much. There is no harm in taking a break from the phone or laptop to get away from the constant influx of information. Simply reading tweet after tweet, or listening to stress inducing news stories back to back may only intensify our anxiety. However important it is to be informed, it is also important this week to take time away, for yourself. Go to the gym, bake with friends, doodle in a coloring book; just a small list of things that can bring us the mindfulness to process this week rationally and move forward with strength.
The last, and arguably most important, is to get out and vote. If you have already voted early or by mail be sure to check on the status of your ballot on your state website. If you are voting today head to the polls early and be safe. Stay in line even if polls close it is your right to vote! If you are not on the registry do not leave, ask for a provisional ballot. Your vote matters and makes an impact, make sure to cast it!
How today and the upcoming weeks will unfold is a mystery soon to be solved. As stressful as this year has been in leading up to this event it is important to remain grounded. Keep reading, keep conversing, and keep checking in on yourself.