I know you hoped that this election would all be over today.
You’ve spent weeks simultaneously dreaming of and dreading the day when we’d know what our country stands for. You expected that sometime on November 3rd, news outlets would buzz with the word that we’ve officially chosen a leader. But in these unprecedented, strange times, we must wait longer for election votes to be counted and states to be won.
You’ve spent months full of mounting anxiety.
You’re restless and afraid at the prospect of this country choosing a leader that reflects its vision. You know that you did your best to vote for candidates who lead with love, respect, and honesty. But you’re worried about the rest of the country. You can feel restless energy coursing through your body as your heart beats out of your chest and your mind races. You’re jumpy, panicked, and unfocused. And you’re afraid that if the election is drawn out much longer, you won’t be able to function.
You feel guilt at the prospect of relaxing when so much is at stake.
You tell yourself that if you shift your focus away from the election, you’re suddenly not doing enough for those who fear for their loved ones’ safety. But you’ve done your part to elect leaders that will respect all identities and beliefs. The rest is out of your control. So take this time to heal and nourish yourself. Rest when you need to. Treat yourself to a favorite food or drink. Take a warm bath. Use a face mask. Do whatever relaxes you when you’re under extreme stress — slowing down will help you through this terrifying time.
You may feel like you’ve lost all hope in humanity because much of the country doesn’t share your values.
You worry that making America a safe, fulfilling place for the marginalized will continue to be an uphill battle. You’re afraid that if the right president isn’t chosen, our country will devolve into chaos and continue to feel divisive when we need unity more than ever. But as unsafe and unjust as your world feels right now, imparting love and respect for all begins with you. Continue to acknowledge your own privilege and use it to lift those who are oppressed. Spread awareness of issues that matter to marginalized communities. And as afraid as you are for the futures of your fellow Americans, don’t let this wait harden you. Lead your loved ones by example — by choosing love and empathy for those who need it most.
You expected to be able to breathe today, to finally have an answer, to be able to process your feelings about our next elected leader. But during this unprecedented wait for the presidential race to end, do whatever will comfort yourself and others, even if you feel like you could be doing more to help this country. And despite the fear and anger you feel as you watch states vote against your values, spread your belief that Americans of all backgrounds and identities deserve love and respect. This election has made us jaded and fearful, but we still must care for our needs, acknowledge the small victories, and practice the values that will create a better America.
Previously published on Thought Catalog.