How to stay grounded through this election process

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Media: Portia Sockel '22

Illustration by Portia Sockel ’22

With election night underway and our country divided, Hill students are feeling the seemingly insurmountable anxiety pending the results. The question of who to vote for has now shifted to what will happen if either presidential candidate wins or loses. 

No matter which side of this election you’re on, this process has and is going to be emotional. The division of our nation has found its place on Hill’s campus.

If you’re feeling the tension right now or are scared of potential outcomes, know that there are people and institutions in place at Hill that are here to help you. Especially now, we need to be proactive in taking care of ourselves. The coming days will undoubtedly present conflict and controversy, so make it’s important that you’re on top of your mental health.

Though it may seem counterproductive, the best thing you can do for yourself in a time such as this one is to unplug. The election has been at the forefront of all of our minds, and therefore, has been the primary topic of conversation and subject of media coverage.

In a digital world, engagement with such content is virtually impossible to avoid. If you’re feeling overwhelmed from your consumption of political propaganda and commentary, give yourself permission to silence the noise. Turn off your phone, even if just for five minutes, and allow yourself to take a break from the live coverage of ballot counting and twitter rampages of Gen Z. Trust me, it will be worth it. 

Another strategy worth trying is setting boundaries within your relationships and throughout your day. Be transparent in communicating what you need from others and assertive in setting corresponding boundaries. If you feel like you can’t escape election talk, try asking your friends if you can converse about something else. Perhaps, opt out of a dinner with peers if you know the conversation will take a political turn and aren’t mentally in the space to participate in that dialogue. If discourse regarding the election is beginning to feel all consuming, chances are you are allowing it to exist in all areas of your life.

When in doubt, go back to the basics. Take care of your physical health. Make sure you are getting enough rest, staying hydrated, etc. Often, when we most feel out of control, controlling what is within our immediate reach can ease anxiety. From simple things like going on walks around campus to watching your favorite TV show, doing small tasks for yourself that may not seem outwardly important or productive can drastically improve your wellbeing.

Our community is fortunate to have tomorrow as a Headmaster’s Health Day. As Headmaster Zachary Lehman stated in an email to the school that he believes that “each of us needs to pause, catch our breath, and recommit to the health and safety of ourselves and each other.” 

All I ask is that you please take this opportunity to re-focus on your health and recommit to the strategies that have gotten us this far,” Lehman stated.

Fourth former and co-president of SAMH, the Students Advocating for Mental Health Committee, Cecile Wegman ’23, stated in a written comment “the counseling office will have counselors available” in various locations from Nov. 4 through Nov. 6, but that “the counseling office is open for walk-ins regarding the election” throughout the entire week. 

“Students Advocating for Mental Health hopes this Headmaster’s Healthy-Day allows all our students to take an opportunity to focus on their health, especially with the abnormal level of anxiety and stress that comes with the United States Election. Your Mental Health Matters,” stated other co-president John Ju ‘23 in a written explanation on behalf of the committee. 

This time in our country is a crucial one. The conversations we are having right now and the coverage we are seeing cannot be ignored. It is important that we allocate our energy to them sufficiently. In order to do that, though, we must first take care of ourselves first. Try out some of the strategies listed above in moments of anxiety and distress, but if you or someone you know needs further counseling or requires more serious help, please reach out to the counseling center ([email protected]).

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