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The Importance of Spoonie Self-Care After This Stressful Election

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No matter what side you were on, it’s been an extremely intense, stressful election season. Tensions in the U.S. rose to a boiling point last night, which culminated in Donald Trump being elected our next president.

This meant you were either devastated or ecstatic. I’m not seeing too much middle ground here.

I’m not writing this to give my political opinions at all. Instead, I want to emphasize how important it is to step back during high-stakes public events like this, especially if your day-to-day life is already affected by chronic or mental illness, or both.

As someone who deals with both chronic illness (I’m at the tail end of recovery from surgery) and high anxiety, there is already not a ton of brain space left for stressful politics. I am still highly tuned in and as involved as I can be (I wish I had been well enough this year to actively canvass, but my health had other plans). That being said, there is also such a thing as too much saturation.

While watching the election results, I realized my breathing was elevated and I was becoming very agitated. It is at this point we need to ask ourselves what we can do to just feel OK in this minute. The big issues won’t go away, but to be truly present and able to work for change, we need to be feeling like ourselves.

This means staying on top of our sleep, eating habits, and social interactions. If you find yourself obsessively checking your news apps or social media feeds for news or reactions, a break from your smartphone might be a good idea, especially right before bed. A good night’s sleep, a nutritious meal, and a cup of tea with friends (in person!) can go a long way.

Once you have taken care of yourself, it’s also important to check in on those around you. If a loved one is hurting, see if they need a hug or a screen break.

It’s so important right now that we take care of each other, but for a spoonie like myself this means taking care of my body first. That way I can then be in better shape to pay attention to the world around me, even if it is going slightly topsy-turvy.

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Stock photo by petrunjela

Originally published: November 9, 2016
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