The Mighty Logo

Please Take Care of Yourself as We Weather the Storm of the Election

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

Elections are challenging. People argue with each other, throwing handfuls of angry rhetoric and judgment from their deeply entrenched positions. We all live through months or years of ads and television coverage and articles and Facebook wars and that one person you know whose entire identity is wrapped up in who they think would be a good president.

And then the people vote and half of the nation is let down and worried.

So as you, or someone you know, mourn and worry, let’s talk about how to cope and deal with it. The truth is that we never really had much control or impact over what was going to happen. Sure, every vote counts (sort of), but that’s really the extent of what we could do. We get one vote and then wait to see where the other millions of votes take our country. Our sphere of control and agency is limited on a grand scale, but we always have control over ourselves and our choices.

Indulge me in an example. I (and you) have no control over the weather. As I write this it’s currently 44 degrees outside and there’s nothing I can do about it. No matter how strong my willpower is or how much effort I’m willing to exert, that temperature is going to rise and fall because of forces well outside of my control. Tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, balmy and windy — it all happens to us, regardless of what we want.


What I can do is watch the weather and prepare. I can’t control if it’s going to rain tomorrow, but I can control if I check the forecast. And after seeing the forecast I can make smart choices — put on boots, wear a raincoat, grab an umbrella. If there’s a hurricane I can take action by boarding my windows and evacuating. I may even choose to have a generator at my home — just in case. We all have gloves and hats and jackets and outfits for different temperatures — some things more specialized than others. I keep an umbrella in my vehicle all year, but I only grab a coat if I’m expecting cold weather.

I can’t control whether or not it rains, but I do have a large amount of control over how wet I get.

Following an election, we’re at the mercy of others. We cast a ballot and then hold on for the ride. But we have options to help us embrace or endure the weather that comes after. So work to discover what your “raincoat” and “umbrella” and “parka” are and focus on that. Maybe it’s time with friends, escaping in a book or TV show, maybe you need to get outside or practice that hobby you love, maybe it’s a good time to get help from a therapist. Here’s a list of coping skills to try (they work beyond just self-harm). Find your frequently needed coping skills (the umbrella in the car) and also your specialized ones (the furry hat thing you wear 3 times a year) and look at the forecast for your own life and needs.

These are the things within your control. This is how you overcome the fear and feeling powerless. This is how you weather the storm.

Related stories about the 2020 U.S. Election:

Getty image via Grandfailure

Originally published: November 5, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home