Taking the Stress Out of the Election and Holidays

How to make the last months of 2020 your best yet

Road leading into sunlight as the year 2020 ends

It is hard to believe that 2020 is almost over and some might say not a moment too soon.  We started the year with Australia on fire and, at the time, it might have seemed that nothing could top an entire continent on fire.

We all know what has happened in the months since, and we can safely say this has been a stressful year for most.  To top things off we still have to get through an election AND the holidays before we usher in 2021. 

So, what can you do to take the stress out of the next couple of months?

Let’s break it down starting with the election. But before we do, take a deep breath, and realize that your vote matters and only you will know who you voted for.

1. Decisions, decisions

  • If you’ve watched TV, listened to the radio, or even answered the phone, you have been bombarded with political ads.  Stop listening. Yes, I am serious, as this is more likely to elevate your blood pressure than help you decide.  
  • Instead, do your research by visiting the candidate’s websites or an unbiassed news site like the Associated Press. We are all human so its not completely without bias, but its consistently featured as one of the most impartial. 
  • Staying away from social media is by far the best way to clear your mind, and scrolling constantly won’t help you make a better decision anyway.

2. The waiting game

You have made up your mind, stopped listening, and are now waiting for November 3rd.  Take joy in the fact that you have more time on your hands. It is how you fill that time that can make all the difference to your health and happiness.

  • Record your favorite shows and fast forward through the commercials. Don’t own a DVR? No problem – when the political ads come on, mute the TV.
  • Use this time to walk in place or if able, do pushups, squats, or sit ups.  Exercise has been proven to reduce stress, elevate mood, and potentially decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Take a break from social media.  Yes, it can be done, and I promise it will all be there when you return.

Most importantly, do not forget to vote. Not voting will likely cause regret and that won’t help reduce the stress in your life.

Feel better? Great!  

Now, how to make the holidays just as stress free as the election.

Before we talk about what can be done, think about this:

  • What causes you the most stress during the holidays?  
  • What can you do differently this year to remove that stress?  
  • How awesome would your holidays be if all you had to do was focus on enjoying your family and friends?

What causes you stress maybe be different, but does any of this sound familiar?

  • The relative that likes to discuss politics, religion, or anything else controversial. Avoid the arguments and instead, make it fun by using the “swear jar” strategy.  Every time one of those subjects is brought up, that person donates $5 to the jar and the person with the most contributions picks the charity to donate the money to.
  • Everyone is on their devices and not appreciating all the work you have done for the big day.  Collect everyone’s phone and instead keep them occupied with a scavenger hunt and series of clues that lead them to their last gift.
  • The stress of having to shop for the perfect gift for everyone. Let it go and take comfort in the fact that even of the best of intentions may lead to them returning the gift.  Instead of giving a gift card, make time to shop with them, either online or in the store. They will appreciate the fact that you want to see the joy on their face when they pick out exactly what they want. 

What else can you do? Sleep 1 extra hour every night. Sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. 

Sleep is important because it gives your body time to repair and be ready for the next day. Ideally, your body needs between 7-8 hours every night, but for now, start with adding just 1 more hour. This small change can make all the difference in how you navigate the stress of the election and holidays. 

I hope this helps you finish 2020 with a smile on your face and less stress in your life.

Be well and enjoy!