We are responsible for our words, and our actions. We are also responsible for our reactions. The year 2020 has been the most difficult one in my memory. Not necessarily for me, but globally. The global world as we know it as been turned on its head. To experience a pandemic is one thing, to not have the resources to handle it is another. On one level there is a lack of hospital space, of protective gear for hospital personnel and first responders, deaths of a magnitude we have never seen before, not being able to gather for funerals (or weddings, or birthdays, or for extended family meals), not being able to visit family/friends in care facilities.
On another level there are closed businesses, inability to get personal services (such as haircuts, manicure/pedicures), and the gut-wrenching vision of what seemed like miles of empty shelves at the grocery stores.
To a great extent, we have coped. Masks fairly quickly became available, many companies devoted at least one of their production lines to making hand sanitizer, distancing rules were put in place, curb service was offered by many businesses (including restaurants), service personnell (such as plumbers, electricians, and yard maintenance people) were masked and gloved.
In the U.S., we have done well at the local, grassroots level, but not so well at the national level. (Listen to Dr. Fauci, for heaven’s sake!) There is a huge divisivness that is both political and personal. There are more weapons out there, and more violence, than we have ever seen before (and yes, I am of the Viet Nam era).
We have a national election coming up in two days (November 3rd, 2020). We have an incumbent that is at the root of many of our problems, encouraging violence. We have the fear that he will not leave office peaceably if he is not re-elected. How do we cope with this?
My first thought for myself is that I am not watching TV on election day. All that will happen is that my blood pressure will skyrocket, and I will drive myself crazy. This does not mean that I am putting my head in the sand. It means that I am taking protective measures.
I believe in prayer. I will be praying that this election brings us a president that will unite us so that we can take our proper place in the global world. That attention to COVID-19 is fast-tracked in the U.S., and that our government undergoes a fairly complete overhaul.
On election day we need to exercise both mental and emotional self-care. Some things that we can do:
- Limit access to news media. Follow the media sources that you feel are legitimate. Create a specific time period to do this, rather than jumping in randomly during the day/night.
- Practice some form of deep breathing exercise – this keeps you grounded and centered, helps keep your blood pressure in an acceptable range, and allows you to handle conversations with friends/family that may disagree with your views.
- Set limits on your social media time. I work from home, so I have access all the time. I have to remind myself to “leave social media” alone, especially if something has really upset me.
- Remember to be thankful for what is good in your life. I do a list of a minimum of five things each morning that I am thankful for. This will be especially necessary on election day.
- Be okay with your own reactions to things. Recognize your feelings, then release them.
- Schedule some alone time in the days after the election to vent and process. We are moving into a new normal – the old one had come to a point where it was not functioning well.
- Stay engaged in your work, your life, your activities. Live a balanced life.
May this election help us to see the light at the end of the tunnell. In fact, may we get a clearer perception of the tunnell itself!
(c) November 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.