Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

I guess it’s only fitting that the year that started with Australian wildfires, took a hard turn into a once in a century pandemic, veered into massive social unrest, and is having a record hurricane season also includes the most contentious Presidential election in living memory. Regardless of what side you’re on – liberal or conservative, left or right, Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or Green party – it’s hard to argue that this election is anything other than massively stressful. With the official election two days away, the campaigns already gearing up for legal challenges, and the media offering dire predictions of corruption and more social unrest, there’s a lot of additional stress in this already intolerable year. 

To my US readers, and anyone else who’s concerned about the outcome, I urge you to do your best to just stay calm. Here’s how:

Manage your Media Consumption

Modern media, be it conservative or liberal or even fairly non-partisan, thrives off amplifying the worst news, because bad news gets views. This can, very easily, create the impression that everything is on fire all the time.

Shockingly, that can lead to feeling more than a little stressed out.

It’s also becoming harder and harder to avoid. When scrolling through social media, it’s almost inevitable that you will see some post or another with a newly apocalyptic prediction for the election. This will undoubtedly get worse on Tuesday, as polling numbers start coming in. 

So you need to self-regulate your consumption. Check the news only as much as you absolutely need to, and the moment you start feeling stressed, step away. Don’t fall prey to doomscrolling, where you are endlessly flicking through the bad news and winding yourself up. If your feed is completely overwhelmed, turn off the app, or even uninstall it temporarily. I’ve been a politics and media junkie since I was teenager, and even I’m going to take it easy on election day.

If you find that you just can’t stay away, seek a balanced perspective instead of relying solely on partisan media (see this earlier post for more on that).

Occupy your Mind

Sometimes, though, we don’t need external influences to get spun up. It’s easy to become your own personal Cassandra, prophesying doom and feeling like no one listens. As the results come in, and things start getting more heated, you’re going to be increasingly tempted to make your own doom scenarios even if the news supports your desired outcome. 

So keep your mind busy. Do something to distract yourself. Sure, you can stress about the latest election results, but you stressing about it is going to have zero actual impact. On the other hand, what about those projects you’ve been putting off, like cleaning your closet or sorting your bookshelf or whatever? Those will make you feel less stressed, give you a task you can accomplish, and have exactly the same impact on the election. Reading a book, watching a movie, or having a conversation about something non-political will also help you maintain calm.

Avoid Discussing Politics

Speaking of things that won’t impact the election, endlessly discussing it won’t change the result, but has a good chance of changing your stress level (and not for the better). This is true whether or not the person you’re speaking with agrees or disagrees with your point of view. If they agree, then the best case scenario is that you share your thoughts and that’s it. However, there’s a good chance that the conversation will devolve into a negative thought feedback loop as you share fatalistic predictions (trust me, I know). At this point, it’s very likely that these conversations will jump straight to doom and gloom. 

And that’s with someone who agrees with you. If you’re on opposite sides at this highly charged time, there’s a good chance that your conversation could start to feel like you’re trapped in a website comments section. Your best case is respectful disagreement, but that’s become increasingly rare in 2020. Most likely, you’re going to find yourself in an argument.

That’s not to say you should avoid discussing it at all. However, limit your discussions to people with whom you know you can peacefully talk politics (see this post for more on navigating these conversations). Also, don’t be afraid to end the discussion if you feel yourself starting to stress. Practice saying something like this: “With everything going on this year, I only have so much bandwidth for politics. Can we change the subject?” It’s polite, it’s respectful, and it’s hard to argue because you are just saying “I don’t want to discuss this,” without doing anything that makes the other party feel attacked. 

Final Thoughts

Please make sure that you do the one thing that can influence the outcome: VOTE. If you’ve already voted (absentee, early in person, etc.), great. If not, be sure to get to the polls on Tuesday. While it might take a while to know the final outcome of this election, the best thing we can do is stay calm and be patient. It’ll be ok.

23 thoughts on “Stay Calm, America

  1. Jennie says:

    Great post, Amanda! The press ‘fans the fire’ (love that photo), so stay calm and vote.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I found the photo on Pexels, and was so excited because it’s perfect for this post. I definitely hope that cooler heads prevail this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        It really was perfect! I hope so, too!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Funny to find you here, teacher…I thought you could relate to my comment to Amanda’s post…isn’t it great to read/see the ‘younger generation’ rise to the task of social ‘responsibility’????

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jennie says:

        Hear hear!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hubby and I are calling this Tuesday Night’s election coverage – watching the Big Game night! Called such as we need a bit of levity to continue to plow through 2020’s culmination of chaos…

    We hand-delivered in our early mail-in absentee ballots mid-October – I’ve been voting since the first yr 18 yr olds were allowed to vote in a Presidential Election (1972)…this one seems the most crucial vote I’ve cast, ever. And that’s saying a lot, given my first was replete with Nixon, Vietnam and all of that!

    Stay SANE!
    ps-great to read your posts, even if I don’t always comment. mostly cuz it’s hard to just push reply for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thanks to my parents and some great teachers, I got interested in politics at a very young age, and had strong opinions long before I was able to vote. And I definitely agree that this election feels like the most important one in my lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kagould17 says:

    Great post Amanda. Even North of the 49th, tensions are running high. If I could snap my fingers and miss all the angst and go straight to the results, I would. To all my American friends and readers, vote your conscience, but please vote. Do not rely on the mail, do not listen to the dire warnings of election fraud and do not be intimidated to not vote. Wishing you all the best outcome. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      This year has been full of just wishing I knew how things would turn out. I’m definitely suffering from uncertainty fatigue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kagould17 says:

    Stephen Colbert and others have said it best…”I am just exhausted by it all.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. CARAMEL says:

    Managing media consumption is definitely great advice.
    I keep on reminding myself that is the corrupt way of doing things that humans have out together that is crumbling.
    But this extraordinary planet keeps turning! The sun keeps rising. the birds keep singing. The water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the carbon cycle – they keep soldiering on even.
    No matter what is ahead, keep loving, and loving goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I love your positive attitude. 🙂

      Like

  6. masercot says:

    When I’m done being calm, most times I like to PANIC!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Sometimes it’s a real roller coaster.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great advice! No matter the election outcome, we all need to move on with life and find away to be calm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Absolutely. Stressing out won’t accomplish anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such good advice for tomorrow! I hope you’re doing well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      So far, so good. Hope all is well with you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. School’s been ~a lot~ but it’ll soon be over.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful post Amanda! I find putting together a puzzle gets my mind off things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Puzzles really are soothing. They focus your mind, keep your hands busy, and give you a sense of accomplishment. I usually listen to music or an audiobook when I work on a puzzle.

      Like

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