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Self-Care in the Face of an Election

Oh, it’s that time again. When the mud is slinging, and people are berating and talking over each other. And if you watched the first presidential debate, you probably, like the rest of us, went to bed with a headache and woke up with a hangover caused by confusion and disbelief. 

Every four years we put ourselves through the upheaval of divisiveness. Why? Because it’s the American way. And honestly, as bad as it is, I’d rather have democracy than the alternative. But how do we stay sane, calm, and positive when all signs point to disagreement and mayhem? 

We practice self-care. I’m not just talking about exercising and good eating, which is undoubtedly important, but in times like these we need more. A lot more. 

What can we do to calm the inner angst and anxiety we feel about candidates, family, and friends who see things so differently than us? 

1. Accept what you can and can’t control 

This is so difficult isn’t it? But once you can master this, you will find your inner down dog of zen. Can you control what other people say, do, or think? No way. But you can control what you say, do, and think. You can turn off the news. Choose to tune into upbeat, feel good media. An afternoon of blaring opinionated news isn’t good for anyone, so don’t leave it on for your dog either. He doesn’t want the negative vibes.

2. Pivot and shift 

Are you getting caught up in arguments with friends and family about taxes and global warming? Pivot the conversation into something upbeat and silly. Talk about a funny video or clip you saw. Say something nice to disarm them. If all else fails, walk away from the conversation. Use the bathroom. Say you have to walk your dog or get on a Zoom call. Fibbing in this situation is okay if it means saving a relationship.

3. Create a bubble

Are pivoting and shifting not enough? It’s perfectly allowable to distance yourself until times are better and to create a safe bubble for yourself. And in that bubble, create a space of love and comfort for yourself. Meditate. Breathe with intent. Pray. Know that this too shall pass and once again, life will carry on as it always has.

4. Show compassion

Do you have that special someone in your life who you love and adore yet their view on politics makes you want to launch them to Mars? If so, you’re not alone. First, it’s important to remember that we like and love these people other times of the year and we don’t want something we say now to derail the friendship and love we share. It’s also important to recognize that we’ve all had different lives, childhoods, experiences that have shaped our political views. No one is right and no one is wrong. It’s all about compassion and compromise and giving space to let someone be who they need to be.

5. Do your part and know your power 

Get out there and VOTE! Or as Elvis once sang, “A little less conversation, a little more action.” We all have the right to participate in this amazing (even if flawed) system we call democracy. So do your part and know that you count. We all matter.  

Politics is politics but love is love. So when the election is over and government goes on as usual, we will still have each other and the love we share. Until then, practice good self-care and know that you deserve peace and ease and your own love during these tumultuous times.

With resilience, grace, and love, 

KK