by Howard Belkin, M.D., Beaumont psychiatrist
Long lines were predicted today as metro Detroiters headed to the polls. Whether you arrived first thing in the morning or plan on voting near the end of the day, it is important to keep a cool head if you’re waiting in line.
Maybe the long lines didn’t bother you but you’re frustrated by the number of political ads on TV? Did somebody take down the sign from your lawn? Or maybe you just can’t wait for all the Facebook comments to end.
Here are a handful of things you can do to make this Election Day as stress-free as possible:
Watch less TV
One of the major causes of stress is our constant exposure to the noise and negativity of television, radio, and the internet. Much of what we hear in the media raises our level of anxiety greater than it needs to be. Cut back on your exposure to media, especially loud media, and you cut back on your exposure to stress.
Redirect your energies
When we have to constantly think about the person for whom we are voting, the consequences of our votes, and our fears in the event that our candidate loses, we focus too much energy on the topic and ignore other things important to us. Redirect your energies toward helpful and enjoyable activities. Exercise, read a book, or go to a movie.
Family, friends and relationships are certainly more important than the news about the election. Spend the time that you with those close to you. Make sure that you exercise, go to movies, out to dinner and other things that you enjoy.
Remember: The day after Election Day is just another Wednesday
We will all have to go back to work, school, and attend to our everyday activities. No matter who wins the election, on Wednesday, we still have to go shopping, cook dinner and take out the garbage just like every other day. These elections will soon pass into history.
If you still cannot avoid the election and it’s stress, at least be productive with your energies. Volunteer at your candidate’s headquarters, make phone calls to urge others to vote or drive a senior to the polls. These are activities over which you can have some control , help others and contribute to the political process.