We came. We saw. And, boy, did we show up. More Americans voted in the 2020 election than in any other in over a century. With over 65% of the voting-eligible population casting a ballot this year, we were all up in it: braving long lines to vote, popping mail-in ballots in, and experiencing media osmosis the rest of the days & months leading up to the election. A few months ago, we reported on the results of our Blueground Global Guest Survey During the Pandemic, in which we learned that nearly three out of every five guests around the world were consuming more news just to be COVID caught-up always. Fast forward to the months that followed leading up to the election, and we can see how that media consumption cycle not only continued but thrived. So now that it’s all done and dusted, how do we begin to crawl out and feel normal again?
Well, we’ve got news for you (the type that doesn’t involve Anderson Cooper or Jake Tapper): if you were – and are still – feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, you’re not alone. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and some effective ways to cope with Election Stress Disorder (yes, ESD is a real thing, coined by Steven Stosny, PhD, back during the 2016 election).
Here at Blueground, it always starts and ends with home. And with more time in our apartments these days, it’s easy to get into a zone. ESD has reared its ugly head again, but in a more bad-ass way thanks to daily newspaper headlines, modern-day technology, 24/7 political news coverage, and what’s felt like everyone’s Instagram stories commenting every day over the past several weeks on some facet of the election.
The stress is not unique to whether you’re white, black, brown, gay, straight, young, old, goth, preppy, Republican, Democratic, and everything in between. It’s a collective thing, and we’re all feeling it. And it’s tough to get a break from it, because we’re still talking about it – even after the fact. That long-awaited socially-distanced happy hour with friends might reveal we’re glad it’s over, but erupt into a conversation on how things could have been done a tad bit differently. Even uniting with family during the Thanksgiving holiday might have meant that distant cousin, opinionated aunt, or your very own father (after a couple glasses of wine, of course) was brave enough to share their viewpoints on whether justice has been served. So how do we deal? With the right toolkit of seven stress busters, goals you can focus on (each or every) day of the week to help you get you all post-election zenned up as we move into a highly-anticipated 2021.
Accepting the results of the election doesn’t mean giving up on the things you care about if things didn’t go your way. Stay true to whatever you believed before, but realize that accepting the present will put you in a better position to productively drive change in the future. It’s a mind thing. Try it.
For many of us, our phones are our most important possessions. Ok, fair enough. But how we consume them is another story. Step away from the political feeds you subscribed to; modify what IG accounts you’re following; and mute some of your uber politically woke friends. They’ll still be your friends next month. We promise.
Time seemed to have stopped – between the pandemic and then swiftly on to the election. Let’s get it back with some mindless or meaningful things to shift our focus to. Maybe a trip to the zoo? Animals in their simplicity and splendor sometimes bring a fresh perspective. Adopt a new dog and make being a new pet’s mom or dad your new project. Single during quarantine? Well, now’s your chance to get on the apps and give love a go so you can lock in a date for your New Year’s Eve celebration (even if it will be a virtual one this year).
Sounds easy, right? But it’s not. It starts with (1) learning how to breathe properly, since most of us have been doing it wrong. Breathe with your diaphragm, not your chest. Proper breathing starts in the nose and then moves to the stomach as your diaphragm contracts, the stomach expands and your lungs fill with good old oxygenated air. Master this to relieve daily stress, and then (2) advance into daily meditations – ideally, the first thing you do every morning (can use an app or YouTube video to learn the ropes). (3) Combine that with learning to sleep more, and better. Matthew Walker’s NY Time’s bestseller, Why We Sleep, is game-changing. Master these three, and make up for lost time in the weeks leading up to the Election.
Pandemic life has us at home a lot. A change-of-scenery day is sometimes moving your laptop from the dining table, to the sofa, and then on to your bed (with a pint of ice-cream). No, we mean move – literally. Whether it’s a tough at-home workout routine, a long run before your workday starts, or even a regular afternoon walk to break up your day – keep yourself moving and active. Once you get the juices flowing, you’ll see your election stress evolve into self-love (especially if your clothes fit better).
The benefit of being tuned in so much to the election, candidates, and issues at stake means that you’ve hopefully seen a new side of you. It’s pretty cool to realize you’re so vested in things you didn’t really think too much about before. From civil rights to marijuana legalization to the stock market, you’ve learned so much lately and are the best version of the new informed you. That’s not going anywhere, and now you can take joy in reading The Economist and talking about smart things at brunch with your friends next time. Change is on the horizon, and it feels like we all have skin in the game now.
There’s no greater comfort than ending the week with the companionship of our fellow (wo)men. As humans, we were meant to be in each other’s company – so we can learn, and be inspired, from those around us. Take the time – whether it’s in small socially-distanced groups, or on that much-anticipated Zoom call – to engage with each other. Laughter, fresh perspectives, and sometimes even tough talks helps us grow. Push yourself. You deserve to feel human and sometimes face the elephant in the room.
It’s a journey, so be patient and know you’ll get there. Surround yourself with the right thoughts, people, and spaces to live and work productively and peacefully. Check out Blueground’s latest living spaces for the right home sanctuary, and be confident in your ability to tackle the other parts on your own.