Election Stress Disorder

Election Stress Disorder

Election Stress Disorder? Is this even a real thing?

Yes it is and is a term was coined by Steven Stosny back during the run up to the 2016 election. From what I read in the NYT about this disorder, it’s back — bigger and badder than ever.

How would you know if you are suffering from it? Well, common symptoms include: doom scrolling, watching polls non-stop, your mind being crowded with election scenarios — who knew there could be so many? (This is probably one of the main reasons why we even have election stress to begin with!) Everybody and everyone is so divided and it feels like it has already been formally announced —

If one side wins, they cheated.

If the other side wins, the vote was suppressed.

Who can win and where does this end? Anticipating this is driving many of us to have Election Stress Disorder. So much information to scroll, so many scenarios to consider, so much worry over where it’ll all end up. Talk about frustration and anger that leads to stress related directly the the election. Often it comes off as feeling and being irritable.

What can be done? Well, first off recognize that the political landscape is causing you stress. Also, be honest — is it just the other side that you are upset with or is it also your own side and the extreme views that lie within? Or even those you respect who may be forwarding or posting news that is not true. If you can answer this question honestly, it can help to create a strategy to combat your Election Stress.

So, what can you do?

First, if you are going to engage in debate try to limit your time arguing with people. Adding to the divisiveness due to your stress simply adds to more discord. Pick and choose who you do battle with and when you engage look first to connect with someone and understand their opinions — listen! — and then bring your own thoughts to the conversation. If the whole engagement stalls, let it be. Find peace within and give yourself credit for trying to understand the other. Make sure to limit the amount of time you engage.

Yes, take time out from the news. Yet, when you do engage make sure you are reading and engaging with sources that are accurate and truthful. It is on all of us to take responsibility for how we are getting our news and where we are spending our time reading news that informs us about the election and beyond. So, yes, limit your time reading the news, but, when you do, make sure it is worth your time and not “fake.”

Take a break. It’s hard to keep all of this in perspective, but it is necessary. Let history be a guide for you in these times. In the past, people have met the challenges of war and racism and pandemics and the world continued to move forward. Some may say that the world no longer has this chance due to man’s impact on the environment. If this is your perspective, take some of your stress and channel it doing something good for whatever cause is near and dear to your heart.

From there, take heart that life will move forward — no matter the election results. Being present, doing what you can do — especially VOTING — and keeping in mind the larger perspective of where this moment in history fits into the greater history of the world can help one see that it is a moment. Yes, there will be impacts, but there is also hope that we can overcome any one moment.

Election Stress Disorder is real, especially with this final lead up to the election on November 3rd in America. Recognize it, take care of yourself, and seek perspective of this moment across the history of time.

Something Pretty

Sometimes We Need Something Pretty

I need a day. You do too?

I need a day where I interrupt my stressed out feelings with something pretty. Something beautiful. A mere image to capture my attention and turn it away from the crazy week I have been having.

I can’t say I am inspired to write much of anything. Perhaps this lack of inspiration should be a sign to take a break, slow down, find something pretty and think on that.

So, that’s what I’m doing today. I am sharing a picture of some stunning flowers that I took while I was visiting my Father-in-Law in SE Asia last summer. It feels like a moment ago, but it was a year — almost.

Something pretty for today.

How to End Your Quarantine Day

Clapping At End of the Day
Clap Away!

Here’s an idea to help you end your quarantine day on an upbeat note, one that will not only lift your spirits, but perhaps those around you as well.

Clap!

Apparently, in NYC, people around 7 pm are lifting their windows up and clapping for all of the essential workers serving during this important time in history. Not only does the clap offer a daily release at the end of the day that is fueled by gratitude, but it engages your neighbors to do the same, and anyone who hears and is a front-line worker can hear the appreciation loud and clear.

I don’t think it only has to be clapping, you could also sing a song, or yell out, “How are you?” to your neighbors. The point is to engage your community by collectively coming together in a way that is distant and safe and making an expression of gratitude for all to hear. It may become a daily ritual that you look forward to.

This idea is sweeping the nation. Give it a try and then check in and see how that was for you. Of course, there are many quieter ways to express gratitude, write a letter, donate to a food bank, reach out to someone who feels lonely or forgotten, support a local business that is still open, and more. Perhaps it is just something we can be mindful of each day of this quarantine.

Do something – whether loud or quiet – to appreciate all that you have and all that others are giving right now.

Holiday Anxiety

Tis the Season to be Anxious

Well, it’s two days before Christmas – if this is the “most wonderful time of the year” then this day, this week, should be the happiest two days ever, So, why is it when I look around or talk with people, everyone is stressed out?

  • Could it be the long “to do” list with not enough time to get it all done?
  • Could it be other people’s expectations of what they want you to do for them to make it all happy?
  • Could it be that you feel pressure to deliver up the best holiday ever for your kids, given these are the memories they will hold with them forever?

It seems like all of these “two days before the big day” stressors have to do with other people rather than ourselves. If we were doing the holiday our way, who knows if any of these fears and pressures would play a role for any of us? Perhaps then it would be the happiest days of the years.

This season strikes me as one full of having to make the other happy rather than ourselves. To think about ourselves two days before the holiday is downright selfish and people will even say as much.

And, yet, what is selfish about remaining true to yourself during the season? I wonder if that is on anyone’s list this year? Have you noticed when someone says they are taking care of themselves and not doing much for others this year, how it is sort of frowned upon or, on the other end of the spectrum, envied by those who want to do this as well.

Before you strike one more thing off of your to do list, I would like to suggest you add one. To create the holiday that is good for you in at least one significant way. Perhaps it is letting the to do list go, perhaps it’s calling it good with what you have created to date for your kids, or could it be that you let go of meeting others’ expectations of you and meet your own?

Choose any one of these options and my guess is some of your holiday anxiety will alleviate just for being comfortable in your own choices this season and letting others carry their hopes and expectations for themselves.

May peace be with you as this holiday week unfolds for you.