These next 24 hours are on everyone’s mind, and here at Pua Mohala, we are no exception. As educators and mental health professionals, we just want to do a check in with our followers and to address some concerns and self care tips that will help navigate all of us through these rough political waters.
Are you feeling anxious? If you answer yes then know you are not alone. The spring 2019 Harvard Institute of Politics Youth Poll found that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 are experiencing anxiety and have increasingly voiced concern about the moral direction of the United States. Conducted by the Harvard Public Opinion Project, the biannual poll surveyed more than 3,000 individuals nationwide. The survey also revealed that the youth vote will likely play a significant role in the 2020 presidential election.
According to a New York Times article posted today Nov.2, 2020 entitled: Peak Anxiety? Here Are 10 Ways to Calm Down:” The stress has consumed both sides of the political aisle. A poll released by the American Psychological Association showed that 76 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans are finding the 2020 election to be a significant source of stress.
In my private practice, I have worked with young adults and parents that have recently reported high levels of anxiety leading up to this election. When this comes up, I recommend breathing exercises, self care routines as well as limiting time on social media and TV news. Making time for self care is very important since it allows us to separate our thoughts with those that cause our anxiety. A certain level of distraction is crucial at this time and allows us time to recuperate our strength and to better accept what we see in front of us and address it in a rational manner. Take a warm bath, bake your favorite cookies, work on a puzzle, or go for a walk on the beach or anywhere in nature. The worst thing for your anxiety is to stay glued to the TV or on your phone throughout the day for election updates.
Anxiety roots itself in our fears and feelings of loss of control so when anxiety begins to overwhelm you then take time to focus on what you have control over and positive things that can occupy your time. It is okay to vent and talk through your frustrations during this election and the events that have brought this national division but it is not healthy to stay stuck in that place and it’s important to redirect our energy and move along to other topics.
With the announcement of a winner either tomorrow or in the days that follow, it will be important to remain calm and continue to be kind to others that agree and do not agree with our political views. Voting is an exercise of a freedom many people before us fought for, some with their lives, so the best way to honor that legacy is to vote and make your voice heard. For more information on where to drop off your ballot or where to go vote in person, please log onto: elections.hawaii.gov