A reminder for all of us, on an election day:
Go on a walk. A long one, if you can. Don’t listen to a podcast. Instead, listen to birdsong and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet.
Breathe slowly and deeply. Let your lungs fill with air, then slowly exhale. Again and again.
Get a cup of coffee or tea from a local indie cafe you want to stick around. Say hello, make light chit-chat, and perhaps pet a dog sitting by its owner on the outside patio on your way out.
Do focused work. Don’t have unnecessary tabs open, and do only one thing at a time until it’s fully done. It’s okay, you weren’t meant to check off your to-do list in its entirety anyway.
Definitely avoid doomscrolling.
Read a book. Fiction, preferably. Linger over it like it’s something you want to do, not like it’s an assignment. Put it down when it’s time, but don’t feel guilty over the time spent reading it — it’s good to enjoy life, even in the middle of a workday.
Let something simmer slow for dinner, perhaps a soup. Let it bubble for hours on the stove while you go about your day, and stir it occasionally.
Find something funny enough to make you laugh out loud. All the way out loud. Maybe a few YouTube videos, your kid, a show you love, a beloved book.
Move your body a bit. A run might feel good, as might ten minutes of gentle yoga. Do something simple that helps you remember your embodiment.
Vote, if you haven’t yet.
Say thank you to the poll workers, and wave hello to your neighbors as you leave, even if you don’t know them. Do that smile-with-your-eyes thing so they know you notice them, even when wearing a mask.
Text a friend or family member you haven’t heard from in a while. No agenda, just say hello. See how they’re doing; what’s on their mind.
Close your laptop and put down your phone when you eventually gather with your people. Look them in the eye and ask about their day. Tell them about your day.
And yes, check in on the news every now and then. But then, close the tab and continue going about your day. If it’s possible, wait until the evening.
Keep up with election news today and in the coming weeks, yes. But do all these other things too. Remember: be kind to each other, and be kind to yourself.