So what is the most stressful holiday of the upcoming season? Halloween with all those costumes to assemble, candy to tempt, and fears that Pennywise might drag you down into the sewer? Or is it Thanksgiving, with the anticipation and dread we feel when we contemplate the upcoming gluttony and hours of travel to see relatives we don’t really like as much as much as we should? Or perhaps it is Christmas, with the office parties to attend, decorations to put up (and then take down), and gifts to locate, buy and then worry about paying for?
Yep…Each of those holidays comes with its own stress. But the most stressful “holiday” is none of these in 2020.
The most stressful “holiday” is Election Day.
With roughly half of the country convinced that we are heading into a bottomless pit of evil if you don’t vote for the their candidate, the other half of the country already suffering from electioneering burnout, and the mainstream media squawking about a possible Constitutional crisis regardless of the outcome, the stress is already building.
So how do we avoid it?
First, I would say VOTE — as early as you can, if possible, and take the entire household with you. Because not only will this allow you to exercise your cherished right under the Constitution, but it will immediately take you out of the rat-race. Are getting a phone call from a pollster? “Too late, I already voted” Social media asking for a donation? “Too late, I already voted” Canvasser at your front door? “Too late, I already voted” Coworker needling you about who you are going to vote for? “Too late, I already voted”
Think of it as getting into a cold pool…It’s best to just jump in, get it over with, get out, and dry off.
So voting may help remove you from the personal stress of Election Day. But what about all the noise that surrounds this “holiday”? The constant political clatter can be the worst part sometimes…
As an Emergency Medicine physician of over 30 years (and father of two teenagers) I have found that there are some basic steps we can all take to avoid external stressors over which we have little or no control — like politics and Election Day.
- Put the stress out of your mind. Compartmentalize it, so you don’t think about it again and again. In this case, avoid all political discussions. Just smile, nod, and talk about how much you like the cooler Fall temperatures or how you hope the Cowboys make it to the playoffs. If you are confronted by someone more insistent, just resort to your standby: “Too late, I already voted”
- Remove the stressor from the environment. In this case, turn off the news (especially TV news) and avoid any social media sites which cover politics. Do you REALLY need to know the latest polling numbers from Hamilton County, Ohio, or what percentage of suburban women in Wisconsin are planning to vote? Watch HGTV or old Star Trek reruns, instead.
- Avoid triggers. If you hear “Orange Man bad!” or “Biden is a Communist”, run away! Maybe you agree, but if it stresses you out, it just is not worth getting worked up about it. Remember…you already voted.
- Share the love. Make it a point to participate in non-political social events. Call your friends and family, go out to dinner, play with your kids — anything to share the company of others. But with one rule: NO POLITICS
Remember folks…Stress kills. Political stress kills faster. Avoid it as best you can.
May the best candidates win!
Dr. Scott J. Jones is Chief Medical Officer of Trusted ER and an admitted political junkie since he was five years old — but he is trying to reform. While he is usually willing to share his political views with anyone who will listen, this holiday season it will cost you a slice of pumpkin pie and maybe a sip of Kahlua.