Election Anxiety: The One Thing You Can Do Right Now

As I type these words there are only 49 days between us and the 2020 US Presidential Election.

Wow, just typing those words made me tense up.

On one hand, election day can’t come soon enough, and yet I’d do just about anything for a little more time. I’m anxious for it to be over, and at the same time terrified that it might not go the way I want it to go.

Extreme anxiety over the next 49 days will be the norm, but worse would be waking up on November 4 and not feeling like I did everything possible to impact positive change. While politics have been a major focus of my energy for the better part of four years, I am still plagued with the fear that perhaps I haven’t done enough.

But the thing is, politics shouldn’t be consuming this much of our energy. The current political climate, which demands that we stay highly engaged and informed day in and day out, is exhausting and unhealthy. This desire to wear us down is part of a complex political strategy. The disregard for human health that has been so evident with the current administration is appalling and inhumane and yet somehow barely makes the list of the top ten things I detest the most.

I know you’re tired. I’m tired, too. But these final weeks are when the most important voting block makes its decision—those independent or undecided voters. And that, in addition to my concern for your mental wellbeing, is why I want to suggest one simple thing we can all do to help impact positive change. It only takes a few minutes, can be done from the comfort of your couch, and it is one of the best ways that we, as individuals, can impact the election in these final days: We have to tell people who we’re voting for.

We have to tell people who we’re voting for.

You already know the power of sharing ideas. The power of the collective. The power of energy. Now you need to set that in motion as we barrel toward one of the most important elections in our nation’s history.

We’re often told that discussing politics is rude. Especially for women, we’re taught that it is “unladylike”. This is messaging of the oppressors. This is how they deter us from sharing our ideas and energy with each other. This is how they prevent us from unifying behind a common cause. This is how they stay in power. And we take that power back when we talk openly about politics.

We know that the majority of people support progressive, unifying policies. Policies that support equality and our environment. But it can be easy to believe that the ideology of hatred and division is winning simply because it is so loud. That’s why it’s important that we push through the discomfort or fear and make our decision known so that it is evident that the vast majority of this country, when faced with some of the darkest days we’ve ever seen, will choose the light.

It can be easy to believe that the ideology of hatred and division is winning simply because it is so loud.

And so I urge you to research the candidates. Focus on the causes that are most important to you. Decide who has earned your vote. And then share that decision with your family, friends, and communities. If you have the energy, it’s beneficial to also share your reason(s) for choosing that candidate. You can keep it simple. This does not need to be a well-written political essay. I’d suggest picking the cause most important to you and preparing a tight statement about why your chosen candidate best represents your views on that issue. If all you can muster is to stick a yard sign in front of your house or slap a frame around your profile picture—that is enough.

Do not underestimate the power of one simple action online. The 2016 election was fought and won on social media. Updating your profile picture to a campaign logo or using a profile frame is potentially the most impactful thing we can each do in these final days. It has huge reach and much greater potential impact when time and energy are limited. Seeing that you have made your decision and shared it publicly might inspire others to be more outspoken, to do more research on the candidates, to reevaluate their decision, or maybe to get to the polls at all.

And don’t forget: there are hundreds of important elections happening across the country. Research your local races and candidates as well—everything from your senators and representatives to your local city council, school board, sheriff and judges. These small, local elections can have an even more direct impact on change in our immediate lives. Don’t feel like you are only adding value if you debate Biden versus Trump. 

We’ve got a nation to heal, and together we can set this country on a path toward healing.

I know it might seem oversimplified and maybe even a bit naive. But I also know that if there is any community that understands the power of collective thought and shared ideas, it’s this one. We’ve got a nation to heal, and together we can set this country on a path toward healing. So, make yourself some tea, do a little breathwork, and find that little burst of energy you need to complete this one task between now and election day.

P.S. Obviously to vote you need to be registered! Vote.org is a bipartisan website where you can confirm your voter registration as well as request a mail-in ballot or find your polling place.

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