A global pandemic, daily protests fueled by racial injustice, social media everywhere, and now the 2020 election — a virtual tsunami for our country and our communities. For many students and first-time voters, the commotion and urgency of it all has become overwhelming. If you are feeling anxious or consumed with stress, you are not alone. Here are a few self-care tips to consider as the election approaches:
- Take a break from social media
Many people view social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as crucial and necessary sources for information and news. However, many students also agree that it can be a lot to face at one time.
Give yourself a break from scrolling until you feel comfortable to face the internet again. Student activist, Deyona Burton, says that taking a mental break, is great for her mental health.
“Sometimes I just put my phone on airplane mode and take some ‘me’ time. I started surfing, doing yoga, and journaling. I even messed around with some natural hair styles. Anything that gets you off of your phone counts as self care in my book,” she said.
- Only take on what you can handle
Many Americans feel strongly about their views and feel the need to educate others when they are unsure about theirs. While this can sometimes be a good thing, it can also be draining. Stepping away is one of the most imperative variations of self care, especially during times like these.
Javon Thomas, a first-year psychology major at Florida A&M, can attest to feeling this level of responsibility.
“One thing I struggled with was just the overwhelming feeling of wanting to help in so many different areas at once. On the day I filled in my mail-in ballot, I was also volunteering for a social justice group, reading articles to stay informed, responding to social media inquiries about my latest activism posts, and much more. It is hard to manage everything I’d like to accomplish to see change,” he said.
Thomas believes that students like himself should, “only control what you can control.”
“I’d advise others to do their research on candidates to make informed decisions and cast wise votes. But, also know that you’ve done your part. Stressing about stuff you can’t effect will only leave you unhappy,” Thomas said.
- Don’t deflect your emotions
For many, politics comes with unexpected waves of stressors. Instead of invalidating your feelings and anxiety, address them. It could help to find a trusted friend or family member to confide in. More times than not, they may be facing the same thing.
To face his emotions, Thomas has incorporated reflection periods in his daily life.
“Aside from my regular prayer time, I’ve been carving time into my schedule for meditation and self-reflection. This is the time where I really focus on my breathing and try not to stress about everything,” he said.
- Avoid political conversation when it becomes too much to handle
When feeling overwhelmed, it is OK to step away from certain dialogue at some point. A simple, “I don’t want to talk about this right now,” could be better than overindulging in pressure-packedconversations.
As a student activist, Burton understands that politics can be overwhelming at times.
“We consume so much information via social media and our phones that we don’t realize how stressful it can be on our bodies. So self care is very important,” Burton said.
Everyone can be surrounded with uncertainties during the election season at some point. The way that you deal with it is what matters most. Self care and taking a step back can be the push that you need.