How to relax and destress from the election madness

Tips on how to unwind and take a break from the election

~Emma Dixon, Executive Producer of CNUTV~

Okay. Let’s be honest. 2020 was draining before the election was even happening. Now that the election is here, it seems impossible to focus on anything else. I know personally I have been unable to concentrate on any of my responsibilities over the past four days. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, everyone is worried about the results. When I’m not directly watching the news, I’m checking Twitter for breaking updates or refreshing the same New York Times electoral map I’ve had up on my laptop since Nov. 3. This may seem hypocritical coming from a girl who is stressed and anxiously awaiting results, but we need to take a break. We need to step away from the results and take care of ourselves physically and mentally. Here are some ways you can distract yourself.

  1. Watch a TV show with your friends/roommates 

Personally, one thing that has made this election more bearable is my roommates. We have been watching shows (our favorites are “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Unsolved Mysteries”) to distract us from the madness. Watching a whole series from start to finish gives you something to look forward to and take your mind off things. And if you do this, you can still check in on the election every once in a while. Periodically, we will flip back to CNN or MSNBC to see if there have been any updates (spoiler: there never are) in between episodes. This gives you a mental break from the election but also allows you to check back in on the results every once in a while. 

  1. Do a small workout in your room

You hear this all the time but it’s true: working out is a huge serotonin boost. I personally always feel so much better even  after the smallest of workouts. They don’t have to be long or extravagant. And they can be done right in your bedroom. Personally, I love doing core and arm workouts. I usually only do 3 sets of an ab circuit or arm routine. I don’t have any equipment in my room, but you can find so many different kinds of no equipment, bodyweight workouts on YouTube and other social media platforms. Even if you only do a short 15-20 minute workout, some sort of exercise helps you feel re-energized and clears your head. Locking yourself in your room for 20 minutes to do a workout helps tune out the non-stop cycle of election talk. 

  1. Have a “family” dinner with your friends

Going back to my roommates, another thing that has helped me this election is having “family” dinners with my friends. Whether it is just getting to go boxes from Commons or ordering pizza delivery or walking across the street for Panera, taking a 30 minute group dinner also helps boost your mood. No matter what the dinner looks like or what you eat, if you sit down with your roommates or friends and have a 30 minute dinner together you will not feel so overwhelmed in the moment with the election. Make sure you all turn your phones off or put them in another room because you want to be in the moment and present with them when you are eating. If you all have your phones and are looking at social media, it won’t help because the majority of what you are going to see on your feed is election post after election post. So, grab your favorite food, turn off your phone and talk with the people you live with for a moment.

  1. Listen to music that makes you happy

I am a music fanatic and music always brings me comfort. If you look at my Spotify, you know I have 15 different playlists for any mood I may be feeling. Whenever I need to escape what is going on, I will go in my room, turn all the lights off, put my headphones in and tune out the world. Just having a lie down and listening for 30 minutes helps me unwind and recover from any stress I may be experiencing. Just make sure you turn on the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your phone so you will have a small period of time with no interruptions. Sometimes we just need to take some time for ourselves and blast music to feel something. 

  1. Take time for yourself 

I know this is easier said than done. But it is important. Take some time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. If that’s cleaning your room and lighting a candle, then do it. If that’s going for a walk on the Noland Trail, then do it. If that’s watching the sun set at Lions Bridge, then do it. Whatever it may be, do what will make you happy. In times like these, it is important to do things that make us feel happy again and bring us joy. 

On a final note, I want to mention that it is okay to feel anxious and nervous about the election. It is a historic election. There is nothing wrong to feel nervous and be wrapped up in the election. Just make sure you try and do something from yourself every once in a while to improve your mental and physical health.

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