How To Mentally Prepare For Election Day

Hear ye, hear ye! Election Day is finally here. After months of candidate commercials, televised debates, lots of deranged tweets, and one global pandemic, the day has finally arrived for us to cast our votes and hope America gets renewed for another season. As if 2020 hasn’t been traumatizing enough, we now have the pleasure of dealing with election anxiety. Yes, voters are now experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety as a result of this sh*tshow we call an election. I mean, duh. But as we gear up to head to the polls, check our mail-in status, and anxiously await the results, it’s crucial that we also carve out time to take care of ourselves. A lot of things are out of our control right now, and that can feel overwhelming, but spiraling into a dark hole of doom and hopelessness isn’t going to do anyone any good. Perspective and mindfulness are key. It’s critical that we find ways to keep ourselves occupied and in check. To help reduce some of this election induced anxiety, I consulted with multiple experts on how to emotionally prepare yourself for election day.

What Is Election Anxiety?

First off, let me assure you that the glass case of emotions that you are in with respect to this election are completely valid. Election Stress Disorder, aka election anxiety, is a real thing that is taking a toll on a majority of voters leading up to the 2020 election, with 52% of Americans reporting in a survey done by the American Psychological Association that the election is “a very or somewhat significant” source of stress. So you’re not alone! I spoke with Natalie Ryan, LCAT, a psychotherapist in NYC, who says, “Nearly all of my patients have been speaking about election related stress and anxiety.” She adds, “A topic that’s come up a lot in sessions is processing people’s biggest fears of what might happen if their candidate does or doesn’t win.” This feeling of uncertainty and anticipation for Tuesday’s election results is only increasing our already heightened sense of anxiety from the dumpster fire that is 2020. I also spoke with the Regional Medical Director at One Medical, Natasha Bhuyan, MD, who has seen an influx of patients dealing with excess stress due to the upcoming election. Dr. Bhuyan says that, “Some patients are having trouble sleeping with racing thoughts about worst-case scenarios. Others are spending lots of time consuming the news and struggling to unplug.” I feel incredibly seen.

To elaborate more on how people, specifically younger generations, are feeling, I spoke with the Senior Director of Measurement & Insights at Fullscreen, Amelia Rance. Fullscreen’s insights division launched an election study that surveyed the political stances of 3,000 millenials and Gen Zers, ranging in ages from 18 to 37 years old. Rance says they found that, “We’ve always seen with a lot of the research that we do that this generation is thinking more about their future and are more aware of certain things, so they feel this stress and anxiety overall more than some of the other generations.” And they all said millennials were self-centered. 

Rance continues, “When we asked specifically about the election, uneasy was the number one emotion that they were feeling, tied with hopeful.” This awkward balance of feelings can be a lot to handle. The best way to manage this upset of emotions is to find ways to support yourself and your mental health, especially during times of political uncertainty. Yes, I’m talking about self-care!

Have A Voting Plan

First and foremost, establish a voting plan. Dr. Bhuyan says, “Start by having a plan for Election Day. If you haven’t voted, where will you go to vote? Be sure to research the polling location and logistics like parking.” She also advises, “Do a sample ballot ahead of time (including the initiatives) so you don’t feel stressed about making those decisions on Election Day.” The more organized you are, the better your brain is going to feel. If you’re voting by mail, then double check you sent it in on time and its status. If you’re voting in person, make sure you have the right address for your polling location. Preparation is essential in reducing unnecessary stress. 

Plan Your Day

Along with establishing a voting plan, it’s also wise to think about how you want to spend the day. Are you planning on watching the news all day, or are you blocking everything out and pretending like it’s not happening? Will you be with friends and family, or by yourself? There is no universal right answer. Ryan suggests, “Spend some time thinking about what will feel the most nourishing to you that day, and try your best to have things in place to help with self-soothing.” That could range from face masks, to ice cream, to a punching bag, or all the above, whatever will work best for you—no judgment. 

Set Boundaries

As you think about what mental practices will best suit you, don’t be afraid to set boundaries with friends, family, and even with the news. You are not obligated to discuss politics if it’s going to be detrimental to your sanity. The same goes with the news and social media. Dr. Bhuyan says, “Many news and social media platforms are designed to have no natural stopping point––there are always more posts to read, videos to watch, and links to click on. As a result, people need to set intentional parameters about how much they consume.” Setting boundaries is a healthy way to preserve your mental well-being and to help prevent yourself from falling victim to political fatigue. Additionally, Ryan suggests, “Maybe you want to have a set time for when you check in with the results, rather than watching constantly for hours at a time. Spend some time thinking about what will feel the most nourishing to you that day.” It’s all about doing whatever feels right for you. Keep the news on all day or go totally off the grid—no option is better than the other. 

Manage Expectations

It’s also important to try and level your expectations. Dr. Bhuyan says, “Managing expectations is a skill that requires being honest with yourself. While people use polls, predictors, and statisticians, know that there is still a wide realm of possibilities in terms of outcomes.” And keep in mind that just because voting ends on Tuesday does not mean that we will have answers on Tuesday. Rance adds, “There’s a strong chance that we won’t know what the outcome is, and then there’s still going to be that uneasiness until we actually know the results. Suspect that the uneasiness will continue after Election Day, unfortunately.” Try not to set yourself up for failure by expecting all of your anxieties to be resolved within one day. 

Do Your Part

Another way to reduce anxiety is to focus on what is in your control. Rance says, “It’s important that people feel that they have done all that they can do in terms of making change happen.” She continues, “If people really feel like they’ve done all they can do in terms of motivating their friends and family to vote, or reach out to states that are more undecided, and really can make an impact; I think that’s how they’ll most feel prepared for the outcome.” Do everything that you need to do, so you can feel at peace and like you’ve done your part—whether that’s phonebanking, talking to family members, posting on social media, volunteering, etc. Oh yeah, and VOTING.

Try Not To Spiral

In the same way that we should moderate our social intake, we should also be conscious of spiraling into a doomsday mentality. Ryan advises, “While it’s important to give ourselves space to process, it’s also incredibly important to recognize when we’re catastrophizing so we can rescale our fears.” She continues, “The first step to stop the catastrophizing and rumination cycle is to recognize when it’s happening. Once we have the awareness we have options to help us move away from it.” If you feel yourself start to spiral, just pause, take a breath, and then pivot to the Pinot, or whatever your self-soothing technique is—again, no judgment. Ryan says, “Distraction, clearing your mind with meditation or breathing exercises, talking to a friend, listening to music, or getting some exercise are some ways we can actively avoid dwelling on worst case scenarios” are all things you can try to calm the f*ck down.

Regardless of Tuesday’s results, it is important to remember that there will still be a Wednesday, a Thursday, a Friday, and an anticipated, hilarious Saturday Night Live. Time will go on, the Earth will keep rotating, and life will continue. I fully understand how pivotal this outcome is and how that can feel. It may seem like a do-or-die, make-or-break moment in time, but that is precisely what this is, a moment in time. As Rance says, “The privilege of voting is something that has been reborn, and people are going to continue to stay passionate, regardless of the outcome on election day.” Hope is not made or broken on November 3rd. The results are what they are. You may not be able to control the outcome, but you can control how you handle it. 

Lastly, Dr. Bhuyan recommends, “Try to challenge yourself to see the silver lining in even the most difficult conditions.” Give it a shot. I’ll go first, my silver lining is that election day falls on taco Tuesday, so win or lose, we can still have a margarita, and I will cheers to that.

Images: vesperstocck / Shutterstock.com

Rihanna Hit Trump With A Cease And Desist Letter

It’s election day, which means all our favorite celebrities have been getting in on the political action lately. From Oprah going door to door in Georgia to Taylor Swift finally breaking her political silence, it’s been great seeing stars use their influence to get people to the polls. And of course, being the queen that she is, Rihanna put the icing on the election cake this week when she threatened Donald Trump with legal action. It’s a beautiful day in America, isn’t it?

It all started on Sunday evening, when a reporter named Philip Rucker tweeted about the scene at a Trump rally in Chattanooga:

It’s been said a million times, but here’s a million and one — Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics. Currently, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” is blaring in Chattanooga as aides toss free Trump T-shirts into the crowd, like a ball game. Everyone’s loving it.

— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) November 4, 2018

Okay, first of all, this rally sounds like hell. Aside from all the Trump supporters walking around in their fugly MAGA hats, I don’t ever need to be in a place where free T-shirts are being thrown at me. I still have way too many dumb shirts from college, and I really doubt the Trump ones are comfortable or cute enough to wear, even in the privacy of my own home. Thanks, but no thanks.

Luckily, it only took Rihanna an hour to notice the use of her timeless banger at such a heinous event, and she responded to the tweet with the perfect amount of shade.

Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip! https://t.co/dRgRi06GrJ

— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 5, 2018

Honestly, if Rihanna calls your rally “tragic,” you might as well just pack up and go home, because it’s obviously canceled. Sorry Trump-ers, but Rihanna said what she said. That all happened on Sunday night, and like clockwork, Rihanna’s legal team sent Trump a cease and desist letter on Monday.

Here’s a sneak peek of my new favorite letter:

“It has come to our attention that President Trump has utilized musical compositions and master recordings, including her hit track ‘Don’t Stop the Music,’ in connection with a number of political events held across the United States. As you are or should be aware, Ms. Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr. Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper.”

Ugh, I love it. I’m a fan of every Rihanna persona, but badass political activist Rihanna is definitely one of my favorites. Rih is the second big star in the last couple weeks to blast Trump for using their music, and there are sure to be more. Just last week, Pharrell sent a similar letter after President Trump played his song “Happy” at a rally on the same day as the synagogue shooting. Of all the psycho things Trump has done, that might be one of the most awful. Like, read the room.

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FLORIDA: You have the opportunity to make history this election. The US has only had four black Governors in its entire history, and we can help make #AndrewGillum the next one and Florida’s first! If you’re tired of feeling like you don’t matter in the political process, know the most important thing you can do in supporting a candidate is finding someone who will take on critical issues such as: making minimum wage a livable wage, paying teachers what their worth, ensuring criminal justice reform, making healthcare a right, and repealing Stand Your Ground. That’s a platform we MUST support. Let’s #bringithome, Florida. Vote @andrewgillum. And VOTE YES on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to folks who have already paid their debt to society. VOTE on November 6th!

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So don’t forget to vote today, and blast all the Rihanna you want while you’re doing it. It’s a mood.

Images: @PhilipRucker / Twitter; @Rihanna / Twitter; @badgalriri / Instagram

Go Vote: Here Are Your Weekly Horoscopes For November 5-9

Is it just me or is the stretch between Halloween and Thanksgiving just the worst? All you want to do is watch Hallmark Christmas movies, drink hot drinks and wear fuzzy clothing, but people still expect you to act like a functioning human and get sh*t done. Ugh, how dare they. This is all made worse by the fact that Mercury is slowing down, which can lead to some SNAFUs—like a bunch of knuckleheads getting elected on Tuesday. We’re not at retrograde status quite yet, but it’s on the horizon. Here are your weekly horoscopes for November 5-9:

Aries

Mercury retrograde starts November 17, so you’ve got some time before sh*t really hits the fan in your life. Still, you can expect some small mix-ups in your daily routine right now. Plan ahead for flat tires, late trains, and there being no Ubers or Lyfts anywhere. This is a time of year where you get really jealous of people who work from home. Oh, like, you get to wear pajamas all day and don’t have to deal with the B.O. of other commuters. Good for you.

Taurus

This week seems really overwhelming at the beginning. You have a lot to get done. You’re worried about the outcome of elections in states you don’t even live in. And your diet of alcohol and leftover Halloween candy is really taking its toll on your appearance. Do a face mask. Get a good night’s rest. Paint your nails. Eat a freaking vegetable. It will all seem a lot less daunting by Wednesday.

Gemini

Lucky Jupiter is moving opposite your sign for the first time since 2007. Remember 2007? You exclusively listened to pop-punk. You wore brightly colored undershirts. You had a crush on a guy in a lime green Ralph Lauren polo. It was a simpler time, a time when things were pretty good. So throw on some Fall Out Boy and polish off your white belt. It’s time to return to the good vibes of, you know, like 11 years ago.

Cancer

Mercury in retrograde is definitely looming on the horizon, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it right now. This week should be a fun, playful time. Dye your hair blue. Get drunk at your Election Night party. You’ll either have something to celebrate or something you want to drink to forget. Either way, you don’t need a reason to be the drunkest girl at your own party. It’s not like you have to drive from your own couch. Likewise, getting trashed on a Tuesday is, like, good for the soul every now and then.

Leo

Your spiritual life is going to the next level this week. Uranus in retrograde brings enlightenment and ushers in changes that uncover the truth of who you are. It’s perfectly OK to let go of an old dream or life path in exchange for something that suits you better. Put all those old college textbooks on Ebay. Stop lying to yourself about being happy with your major. Stop dating finance guys who bore the living sh*t out of you. Change can be good, betch.

Virgo

The power of Mars makes you a hard worker despite your best efforts to be lazy. As a Virgo, you like order and checking boxes on your to-do list. This week, though, it’s important that you allow yourself to be peer-pressured into having some fun and forgetting the list for a little while. Let your most free-spirited friend talk you into skipping class, taking a too-long lunch break, or skipping that networking event you feel obligated to attend.

Libra

Jupiter changes signs this week. It will increase your optimism about life and make your attitude to the world around you more understanding and tolerant. Wonderful. Now you’ll have the energy and mental strength to not respond to your aunt’s racist/bigoted Facebook memes. Well, maybe you can respond in a more civilized manner understanding that she comes from a place of being batsh*t crazy.

Scorpio

You have the Sun on your side with the energy of being the birthday betch this month. People will naturally be attracted to you. You will radiate beauty and light. Others will basically be moths to your flame. So tell your boyfriend it’s not your fault that random guys keep buying you drinks. He should take it as a compliment and be relieved he isn’t footing the bill on your getting wasted this month.

Sagittarius

Your ruler, Jupiter, moves into your sign this week. This can cause you to feel a little more introverted than normal. That’s also to be expected as the Sun is hiding in your chart, awaiting your birthday month. Don’t worry, though. There are times when you’ll leave your shell because Venus will seduce you into socializing with others. Hopefully, Venus works her magic to get you to the polls on Tuesday. I mean, if that’s the only time you make it out of the house this week, we’ll call it a win.

Capricorn

There are some potentially dangerous combinations in your chart this week. Mars arouses your desire to earn money while Jupiter slips into a spiritual part of your chart, ushering in a year of self-exploration. Do not take this as sign you should become a stripper even though your women’s studies class taught you sex work is real work. That explanation will not go over well with your grandparents at Thanksgiving, no matter how much cash you’re bringing in.

Aquarius

Mars is in your sign this week. Your pent-up energy needs someplace to go, so it sounds like you’ll be hitting up Orange Theory more than usual. Keep your head on a swivel, though. Mercury retrograde attracts old friends from the past back into your world. This would be the week to bump into an ex or your worst enemy at the gym. I’m not saying you need to wear a full face of makeup while working out, but maybe your best Lululemon outfit, a high pony, and some chapstick will give you those “Victoria’s Secret Angel preparing for the fashion show” vibes.

Pisces

This is a great week for your Pisces sense of intuition to take over. You don’t need to call all your best friends and your mom and your grandma for advice. Your inner guidance is strong. Of course, when you go vote on Tuesday, you can totally consult a voter guide before casting your vote. I mean, you wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends first, so why would you go into a voting booth without figuring out where each candidate stands? You get my point.

Images: Giphy (6)

The Betches Sup’s 2018 Midterm Voter Guide

It is mid-October and I know that the only thing on your mind is if it’s appropriate to be a slutty for Halloween. But we’re here to tell you something else should be on your mind that’s happening like, a week after Halloween and that is Election Day. Yes, you know, the thing Taylor Swift wrote that suuuppper long Insta post about. Just kidding. We know you’re all smart, capable women who are stoked to vote, and not just because you’re going to get a sticker.  (Though it is awesome to get a sticker.) Since we know you’re already going to the polls, this voter guide is here to help you figure out wtf to do when you get there. Do you have a voting plan? Are you registered? Do you think being a slutty feather duster is too on the nose?

Here is everything you need to know about voting, it’s like the cheat sheet you used to pass AP Bio. Aww, #tbt.

Wait, Can I Register Right Now?

We get it, you don’t want to read this whole entire thing. Register to vote right tf now,  by clicking here. But then also do read the rest of the article because we like, worked hard on it and sh*t.

Is It Too Late To Register?

Voter registration laws can be vary a lot from state to state, so making sure you know wtf is up where you live is important. Check here to see if you are registered and click here to see your state’s deadline for registration. Many states have same day voter registration, which is amazing for the procrastinators among us. You can also click here to find out your state’s specific registration requirements.

If you missed your deadline and can’t register the day of the election, you should low-key be a little embarrassed, but don’t worry this is a safe space. Consider atoning for your sins by phone banking for a candidate of your choice. Recruit one new person to vote and it’s kind of like you never missed the deadline at all! Kind of…

Can I Vote Early?

Nothing is more fun than being a trendsetter. Many states have early voting, which is basically like the Disney Fast Pass of democracy. No waiting in lines. No bullsh*t. You just cruise right into Indiana Jones exercising your civic duty with zero hassle. Click here to see if your state has early voting so you can get voting out of the way before Election Day. Then go out and get yourself a sticker because you deserve it.

What About Voting Absentee?

Voting absentee – like the jager bomb – is something many people experience exclusively in college. Whatever the reason, if you can’t show up to the polls on election day you can always vote absentee. Click here to get your absentee ballot in less than 2 minutes.

Okay, I’m At The Polls And They Aren’t Letting Me Vote. Do They Know Who My Dad Is?

Some districts have a shady past of turning away voters who are indeed registered to vote, or just have overworked and/or inexperienced poll workers who can’t find your name for whatever reason. Don’t freak out. If this happens, repeat after me: “Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law when requested.”

Write that on your hand if you need to. Practice saying it in the mirror Elle Woods style. If for any reason you are not able to cast your ballot, do not leave the polling place until you’ve filled out a provisional ballot, then be sure to follow up with your state to verify your identity and make sure your vote is counted. And then go buy yourself two stickers for all the extra work you had to do.

What if something Shady Is Going Down At My Polling Place?

You’ve watched enough true crime documentaries to know when something shady is going down. Have a hunch or doubt that there’s an issue at your polling place? Call 866-OUR-VOTE or text election protection” to 97779 and let them know what problems you’re encountering. Maybe Mariska Hargitay will show up!

Wtf Is On My Ballot?

Don’t get caught in the voting booth staring at a bunch of names you’ve never heard before running for positions you know nothing about, or propositions written in language your brain can’t comprehend. The good bros over at Crooked Media created a way for you to preview your ballot so you won’t be caught off guard by anything on Election Day. Filling in random bubbles based off what answer sounds the best may have worked for your AP Bio exam, but it def won’t fly on Election Day.

Wait Why Am I Voting Again?

Look, we put a lot of jokes in this article because we’re Betches and that’s what we do, but voting is really f*cking important. Chances are there is an issue you care about, and Election Day is your opportunity to make your voice heard. A recent poll showed only 26% of 18 – 29 year olds were likely to vote in the upcoming election, whereas 82% of those 65 and older are likely to turn out. That’s like, sad and embarrassing. It’s sadbarrassing.

That’s why The Betches Sup has partnered with Crush The Midterms to make identifying causes you care about and finding out how to support them come November as easy.

Click Here To Come Up With Your Own Personalized Midterm Plan 

See you on November 6th! 

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!