At the end of my ADHD and Development Lab meeting, our principal investigator made an announcement we all need to take to heart. The lab is going to take a post-election mental health break and not meet on November 4. That’s something that everyone should do.

The Maple Counseling Center, a non-profit mental health organization, conducted a survey in which 52 percent of respondents said their mental health has suffered due to the 2020 election. Jason Woodrun, researcher and therapist, calls this “election stress disorder.”

Another survey found one in four respondents experienced loss of sleep due to the election. When the election is finally over, take a mental health break.

I am going to take a social-media hiatus. I’ll avoid the political posts and arguments which they will start in the comments section.

Taking a break from politics is important when there is so much more to life. This weekend was honestly one of the most hectic of my life, and that had nothing to do with the fact it was the last one before the election.

I moved with my family into the new house my parents bought. I helped with unpacking while also trying to study for two exams. I got up at 6:30 on a Saturday and was the only legal adult in the house when our WiFi was being set up, since my parents were busy getting and loading the moving truck.

While by no means anyone’s idea of a perfect weekend, it was a perfect distraction from reading the news, doom scrolling through social media, and the thought that this is probably the last weekend before we know who is going to be our next president.

It gave me hope and joy even if the election does not go my way, at least we will have a new house and I will soon have my own office to work in from home.

I’m not saying to do something as dramatic as move to a new home, but I am saying to find a good distractor and something you can be joyful about regardless of whether or not you are happy with the results.

Do something you love which takes your mind off politics and the election. If you can afford to do nothing productive on the 4th or close to it, you should take it. I am going to spend Friday evening after the election with my book and the Mentalist. Whatever increases your dopamine levels, do it.

After looking at the list, I am going to do that by running on the treadmill that is now out of storage while listening to upbeat music.

Once you vote, it’s OK to not focus on the election. Obsessing over it won’t change anything. Make your voice heard. Then, forget about politics for the night. I’m that nerd who’s gonna study after voting but there are more fun ways to get your mind off it.

Go for a walk, make your favorite meal for dinner, or work on a fun non-political project. Call your apolitical friends. Trust me, we would love to have someone call us and ask to talk about anything but politics.

Do something which makes you feel valuable and loved, especially if your preferred candidate does not win. Your voice still matters. Your friends, family, and others of your political party always have and will care about you.

Remind yourself faith, love, and positivity — not any candidate — make the world go round.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.