First off, if you read the title of this post and your first reaction was “gurr durr fearmongering libtard” you can go fall in a hole. I’m not talking to you. This is for people possessed of emotional intelligence, critical thinking skills, and a functional sense of empathy. No matter what happens, you need to make a post-election self-care plan.
Avoid the News
Whatever is going to happen will happen whether you’re watching live in real time or not. You do not need to be staring at a screen for hours anticipating something happening. My recommendation is to do what people in the old days did: after it happens, read about it. Find reliable written news source that provides facts. Not video, not opinion, not hyperbole designed to boost their rating and increase their ad revenue.
I’m actually going into a media and internet blackout starting on Tuesday. Other than a few things that I need to do for work, I don’t plan on being online again until the following Monday. There’s nothing I can to do stop things, change things, or help things, so I’m choosing to prioritize my own physical and mental health over whatever lunacy is foisted upon us.
Stay Off of Social Media
This ought to be a no-brainer. Turn off notifications, uninstall phone apps, and delete bookmarks. You already know how much disinformation and hate is circulating now. It’s easy to speculate how the level of vitriol and lies will increase during and after the election, no matter who wins. You don’t need to experience that, either being yelled at by a bad actor, or yelling at a bad actor.
Without turning this into a long story time, my anxiety has put me back on my personal Twitter account. I need to kill that now. Even my business Twitter is going to go dark next week, because I don’t expect to be able to filter the new, the bad takes, and emotionality that will be present no matter who wins or what happens. I’m out. Time to catch up on my reading.
Get Some Exercise
Do whatever you normally do, on whatever schedule you normally do it. If you don’t already exercise regularly, go for a walk. Seriously. When you’re tempted to turn on the news or look at social media, leave the house. Go look at a tree. Find a bench to sit on and people-watch.
Katie and I are extending our normal Tuesday grocery trip so we’ll be out of the house longer. We’re going to wander through shops and stop for a coffee. On Wednesday we’ve got a day trip planned, so we won’t be anywhere near a screen. I’m trying to convince her to just let me turn off the router altogether, and live without wifi at home for at least a few days.
Touch Base with Friends
I’m assuming that this far into the pandemic most people have Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or some other way to chatting with friends other than social media. Email is a thing that still exists, even if you think it’s old-fashioned and quant. Write someone a nice letter and email it to them. Stick to phone calls and text, just stay the hell off of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even Instagram at this point.
The people that need to be able to reach me all have my phone number. They can call, text, or message me on WhatsApp. Everyone else can send an email, although I’m probably not going to begin answering until the following Monday. No matter what happens, I don’t think I’ll be in the mood to talk to anyone I don’t already know.
Do Something Special
Treat yourself. Cook a special meal. Buy yourself a little present. Watch the movie you’ve been dying to see, or binge your favorite TV show. Work on the project you’ve been putting off. Break your normal routine. Change your priorities so you’re doing something enjoyable, rather than something necessary or obligatory. Create some sort of pleasant experience, and a happy memory.
As I said above, Katie and I are taking a day trip. It’s the first thing we thought of when we decided to make a post-election self-care plan. Nothing extravagant, and not something we couldn’t do any time. It’s just something we don’t normally do, which makes it memorable. I’ll be focused on logistical, and the stimulation of being in a place that I don’t get to see and experience all the time. It will hopefully be fun, but at the very lest it will be distracting and take me away from the temptation of looking at the news.
Make a Post-Election Self-Care Plan
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About Berin Kinsman
Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.