As I write this, there is no clear winner for the 2020 Presidential Election.
I, along with 330 million other Americans, wish that wasn’t the case. Democrat or Republican, we all just want this to be over.
And when it is, about 50% of the country will celebrate in triumph, their faith in democracy restored.
But what if your guy loses? What then?
5 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health
I won’t speak to the politics of the situation. But as a therapist, I will speak about your mental health, as that is what matters to me.
So, in the interest of keeping you sane and lessening the effects of an election that didn’t quite go the way you wanted it to, here are my top 5 tips:
1. Take a three-month break from all social media.
Go ahead and do it. Delete Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and even LinkedIn for some reason now. No good will come of having them. You’re going to end up posting something you’ll regret.
Take this opportunity to disconnect from all the buzz and the propaganda and the hoopla and the hooey. It doesn’t matter what your crazy Uncle posts next week. It doesn’t matter what article is currently trending.
Take this time to unplug. And relish in the relief you’ll feel from your anxiety and panic.
2. Start a new hobby.
It’s time to get the focus off the election. It happened. You can’t do a damn thing about it. The only thing you can do is focus on something else.
Hobbies don’t get enough respect, but they should. A hobby, by definition, is something that you are passionate about doing.
So whatever it is, take this opportunity to throw yourself into an activity that you can actually control. Your mental health will thank you.
3. Begin and end your day with a gratitude list.
Every morning when you wake up, write down a list of things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t matter what it is. All that matters is that you write them down, and make sure there are at least 10.
Then, when you go to bed at night, do the same thing you did when you first got up that morning.
Keep doing this for as many days as you need to. You’ll know when you’ve arrived.
The feeling you’re going for is “serenity.” The only way you get there is by recognizing all that is going well in your life and being grateful for it. Hopefully, along the way, you’ll realize that it really doesn’t matter all that much who’s sitting in the Oval Office.
I mean, it does. It totally does. It’s just that you can’t do anything about it.
4. Do light cardio or strength training.
Research is quite clear on the relationship between depression and exercise. People who exercise tend to not be depressed. People who are depressed don’t exercise.
A brisk 20-minute walk 5 times a day will do wonders for your mood. Try it out. It’s low-risk and high-reward.
Strength training is also great for your mental health. No need to overdo it. The idea here is to use those muscles, but not to overdo it.
Ever noticed how much tension you feel when you’re anxious? Light weight lifting is a wonderful antidote. Vent that tension in a positive way, and look better doing it, too.
5. Get Social
This is a borderline heretical suggestion in the age of COVID, but we all need to look for ways to connect with others. Social media and news outlets will convince you that everyone else is a fear-mongering partisan, just waiting to scream at you for your political views.
That’s just not true.
Most Americans are cool. Most Americans realize that you don’t talk about politics or religion in mixed company. And most Americans are sick of being socially isolated, too.
Reconnect with the people that make this country great in the first place. I promise you that your symptoms will start melting away.
Regardless of your political leanings, 2020 has been an exhausting year. It’s only fitting that it would end in a divisive and contested Presidential election. Is anyone really surprised?
Unfortunately, 2020 has seen a huge increase in substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide attempts, and myriad mental health problems. If you’ve noticed that your mental health has taken a hit, don’t let the results of an election send you over the edge. Take care of yourself and stay safe.
Tomorrow will be a new day.