There’s a reason why Google posted a breathing exercise video to its Twitter account.
As the end of Election Day nears, political anxiety is much higher than previous elections. To add on to the stress, multiple experts have predicted that election results will likely not be available by the end of election day, since several states need more days or weeks to count up submitted ballots.
It is important to stay informed about current events, especially elections. But it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to take a break when needed.
Although the chaos sometimes seems inevitable, there are many ways to unwind during times as stressful as the current moment. Here are some resources at Emerson College you can reach out to and events you can attend if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the election.
Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services
Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services held a Zoom meeting Monday on how to create a self-care tool box. Staff Psychologist and Outreach Coordinator Kyle Rundles, who co-hosted the event, said creating a “tool box” of alternative coping techniques can help when you aren’t able to use usual coping skills.
“Sometimes it’s helpful to have these items already gathered in a specific place that you can go to,” Rundles said in a phone interview. “If you feel particularly distressed, you can go to this one place, rather than having to remember a lot of different things or ways of coping, to remind you of coping strategies that you have or that would put you in contact with some of these things that bring you joy or comfort.”
The tool box consists of lists of words of affirmation, coping skills, ways to connect with loved ones, as well as photos of loved ones, reminders to listen to music playlists, something that inspires you, and your favorite snacks or teas.
ECAPS held a similar event during freshman orientation this year, and Rundles said they will do similar activities in the future.
Rundles also said ECAPS collaborates with other departments likes Intercultural Student Affairs and Center for Spiritual Life on campus through social media using #mindbodysouljustice, where you can find posts leading to different mental health resources.
Election Day Decompression
Community Ambassador Elizabeth Pine is hosting an Election Day Decompression Zoom tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“I wanted to create a space of essentially escapism just for a moment,” Pine said in a phone interview. “For myself personally, I’m gonna need a decompression space. So I thought I might want to extend that out to the student body in general.”
Pine said she has a couple ideas of what activities to do, but she will choose them based on the feeling of the Zoom call.
“It’s just gonna be games of some sort, just funny goofy games or a guided meditation or origami,” Pine said. “I’m going to be reading the room and trying to gauge what people need. I wanna be able to provide what anyone needs if they come through the zoom door, as it were.”
The event will be hosted by Community Ambassadors and Off-Campus Student Services, who mainly help students transition from on-campus to off-campus living, and is open to everyone.
“I hope that everyone stays informed to a healthy extent as it pertains to them, and that everyone is minding their emotional limits and recognizing that it’s not a bad thing,” Pine said. “If you need to step away for a moment and take a deep breath.”
You can RSVP to the session on EmConnect.
Healing and Advocacy Collective
The Healing and Advocacy Collective is a counseling service at Emerson that came into existence as a result of student activism. The Collective is a part of the Social Justice Center and addresses the connection between power-based interpersonal violence and structural oppression.
Director of Healing and Advocacy Collective Melanie Matson said the collective will be available to those who need help, but their approach to mental health help during the election is to “reach out” if you need it, in order to avoid bringing up trauma for those who aren’t ready to discuss it.
Matson said this is due to power-based interpersonal violence and the ways that this can play into the election for some.
“We recognize that for some folks, with the election, it might be bringing [trauma] up,” Matson said in a phone interview.
They described the ways in which the election may bring up those painful memories and feelings because the government can mirror the interpersonal violence one has experienced.
“Within a community there are various ways that power-based interpersonal violence can play out,” Matson said. “One person or a group of persons uses a pattern of conduct to seek power and control over another person or persons, which is also what we see playing out with the state and governments in trying to control people whether its with laws and policies, how resources are distributed or can be accessed.”
Reaching out the Healing and Advocacy Collective is always welcome, Matson said, and you can find self care tips from the Health and Advocacy Collective here.
Wisdom Wednesday: Meditation for Post-Election Morning
“Wisdom Wednesday” is a guided meditation held each week by the Center for Spiritual Life over Zoom. This week, the meditation will focus on relaxing after a stressful election.
Director of Religious and Spiritual Life & Campus Chaplain Rev. Julie Avis Rogers said in an emailed statement that their meditation sessions often focus on current themes or events that have an emotional impact on the community. Recent “Wisdom Wednesday” sessions have focused on the deaths of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, CT Vivian, and John Lewis. This focus on the election fits within our tradition of paying close attention to themes that are important in the community,” Rogers said in the email. “But more specifically, it felt important to acknowledge that many in our Emerson community may feel an extra need for community, grounding, and care this week.”
Rogers also said that there will be three post-election meditations held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. These meditations will be similar in structure to the center’s regularly scheduled meditations, but they will feature an election-centric mindset.
“The difference will be that I’ll lead us through guided meditations that specifically speak to our current moment and the needs of our community as we make our way through election week,” Rogers said in the email.
For those who are interested in meditation this week but cannot attend a session, Rogers said they are offering this small booklet of meditations and spiritual practices to community members.
You can RSVP to the event on EmConnect.