6 ways to keep you sane on election night
Merriam-Webster defines self-preservation as 1) preservation of oneself from destruction or harm and 2) a natural instinctive tendency to as so as to preserve one’s own existence. When I thought about Election Night in the U.S. I initially thought to write about self-care. In case you don’t know, Tuesday night is going to be a bumpy ride and many people will be very unhappy because either a) their choice was not elected for president or b) they are still counting votes and it will be more than a day or so before we have the final results. In previous years I’ve been happy to go to bed with just a glimpse of the television and the numbers. In 2016, I was nervous, but hopeful. This year, I’ve had trouble sleeping and this morning I was incredibly grumpy and I realized it’s straight-up anxiety. There’s no two ways about it. And then I realized, it’s not so much about self-care right now, but self-preservation. Apparently, I’m not the only one who is worried about what will happen on election day and I don’t just mean my friends and family.
Our school system is currently in distance learning. Usually in an election year, our schools are used as polling places and the kids get a day off from school. Since we are in distance learning, there was some earlier chatter about keeping it as a regular school day since everyone was learning from home anyway. But the county decided to keep Election Day as a day off for teachers and students and decided to make the next day a work day for teachers, but the students would have another day off. Initially I was irritated with the change in schedule; not because I didn’t think that the teachers needed a day to focus on lesson planning and grading. I fully support teachers getting the paid hours they need and deserve to plan for distance learning. Time is at a premium for them and I am grateful for all they do. I was more irritated because the county decided to make schedule changes mid-quarter. Later, I found out that our school system was concerned about possible unrest due to election results and it was better to relieve the stress on teachers and students as we come to terms with the presidency, no matter who it may be.
Next, my husband, who has been working from home since March (thank you COVID-19) told me last night that his office strongly urged everyone to work from home on Election Day and the day after if they weren’t already.
There’s more talk about empty shelves in the grocery stores, and I’m beginning to panic. I can feel my anxiety creeping in and taking hold. Unfortunately, for my children it means that I’m distracted, impatient, and snappish.
Family Movie Night
I think a family movie is in order tonight and I’m going with Wonder. It’s a family favorite and my 6 year old and I are in the midst of finishing up the audiobook by R.J. Palacio. Watching the movie will be the perfect way to cap off the evening with a reminder from one of Mr. Brown’s precepts: “If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” — Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
Get Outside and Away from the Screens
I also kicked everybody off their electronics for a while and we went on a family walk. Three of my children and I went to the local duck pond. My fourth opted for a run around the neighborhood. But this is what we needed. Time away from the confines of the house and our screens. I know when my anxiety is through the roof because my to-do list looks unmanageable, when in fact it isn’t any longer than it was the day before and I was able to get it all done. If you haven’t been outside today, go for a walk and clear your head. It’s free and easy to do. My husband has been in meetings all day. I might be able to convince him to go for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
If you haven’t already, VOTE. If you don’t think you have a voice, you do. If you think your vote won’t matter, it WILL.
Democracy Doodle 2020
Famed children’s author and illustrator, Mo Willems will be hosting a Democracy Doodle on the Kennedy Center website. He will do three drawing exercises accompanied by a different musician from the National Symphony Orchestra. Early on in the pandemic, Mo Willems was helping children cope with doodle breaks. Doodling is not just for children. Join him on November 3, 2020 for a doodle break and get lost in the music, with the feel of a pen in your hands and creativity in your heart. You can find Mo Willems and his Democracy Doodle here: https://www.kennedy-center.org/mowillems
Catch Up with a Friend
I bet you’re not the only one who is waiting anxiously for the results. This would be a good time to contact with a friend or family member. I miss seeing everyone in person and phone calls and texts have been a wonderful way to stay connected to those I miss. Take a break from the screen and catch up with someone with whom you haven’t spoken to in a while. Tell them you miss and love them.
Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine on Netflix
After the kids are in bed, I plan to spend the rest of Election Night watching Sarah Cooper’s Everything’s Fine on Netflix. I’ll be in need of a little comedic relief and while it will still address politics, race, and other “light” topics maybe it will give me a laugh and forget for a moment that tomorrow is going to challenging.
I have this distinct feeling, and I am hoping against hope that I’m wrong, that people are going to band together and revolt against the election results. It won’t matter if Trump gets a second term or Biden is elected President, it is going to rock our world. God helps us all.