No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, the months and weeks leading up to this year’s elections were intense, leaving many people feeling stressed and worried. In fact, an American Psychological Association survey reported in early October that 68 percent of adults said the presidential election was “the most significant source of stress in their life.”
Now that voting is behind us and results are in (or rolling in), take the opportunity to refocus your attention on your own health and well-being rather than endlessly checking the latest news headlines or scrolling your social-media feeds. “Remember that you are worthy of care and respite always — and especially in this current reality,” says Brie Vortherms, MindCoach and co-creator of Life Time Mind, the healthy way of life company’s performance coaching program. “Compassion and care are not complete if they don’t include yourself.”
Vortherms offers a variety of self-care ideas for prioritizing you in the days ahead.
- Stick with your workouts — or at minimum, strive to move in some way, shape, or form every day. Movement helps move stress through and out of the body.
- Maintain good eating habits. And limit sugar and alcohol consumption. Nourish and fuel your bodies with high quality, whole foods that not only help power you through your days, but also support how you feel physically and emotionally. Plan ahead as best you can to avoid mindless eating or snacking.
- Schedule one professionally provided service. Whether your preference is massage, a pedicure or manicure, or acupuncture, book it and let a professional support your body in a way that feels good to you.
- Start a project. Immersing yourself in a task — whether it’s starting a craft, or building or fixing something — is a great way to direct your attention to what’s right in front of you.
- Prioritize sleep. While shuteye is the easiest thing to skimp on, it’s also one of the most important things we can do to support our bodies optimal function. Aim to get seven to eight hours per night, even if that means sleeping in an extra half hour and shortening your a.m. workout by a round or two.
- Set boundaries around your social-media and news intake. Right now, it may feel essential to follow every single development. But remember: It’s OK to step away. Allow yourself 10 minutes in the morning and evening to check in. Then sign out. If that means using an app or browser plug-in to help you stick with it, do so. There are lots of tools to help (i.e. StayFocusd for Chrome).
- Focus on what’s in your control. This includes your thoughts, decisions, and actions. Think about what you can do versus what you can’t and put your energy and attention on those things you have the ability to influence.
- Say no. If you’re overwhelmed by everything that’s happening, it’s OK to say no to requests that feel like a drain on your energy or resources.
- Spend time with people you enjoy. Though there are still guidelines around in-person gathering, make a point to connect with those you love and care about, whether it’s a small group of friends in your pod or a Zoom call with some of your family. One caveat: Put a limit on election talk or pending outcomes.
- Do an energy cleansing ritual at the end of each day. It might be taking a mindful bath or shower, journaling, reading a book for pleasure, doing EFT Tapping, or listening to calming music or a guided meditation.
- Plan something to look forward to — a virtual race, a mini-vacation, a dinner with friends, a date night with your partner. Put something on the calendar that you’re excited to do in the near future.
- Get out into nature. Immersing ourselves in natural environments has a way of instilling a sense of awe and connectedness to something bigger than ourselves or the immediate circumstances. It has a way of helping us see beyond our differences and realize our common humanity in this great big, beautiful world.
For more self-care ideas, along with tools and resources for proactively managing your physical and mental health, visit mind.lifetime.life.