How to Survive This Election Season

by Jessica E. Thomas | October 12, 2020

The 2020 presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most contentious elections in American history. There are many reasons for this.

Our president doesn’t behave the way we are accustomed to politicians behaving.

Our news media earns its money sowing discord.

There is a deep ideological divide between the right and left.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic.

Racial tensions are at an all-time high.

I could go on. But I won’t. Because—

I’M TIRED

If you’re like me, you’re already emotionally exhausted watching current events unfold.

You can campaign for your candidate. Support them on social media. Make your position on social issues known on  social media. Donate to organizations that support your causes. Sign petitions. Write letters.

These are all good things.

And maybe you’ve already done them but are simply worn out. Or maybe you’re not called to activism. That’s ok.

IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK

I know I need one.

I’m a pragmatist. At this point, I know there’s not much I can do to influence the election. I’ve made my positions known on social media. Hammering my opinions into my Facebook friends isn’t going to change anything.

So, I’m taking a break.

Here are a few changes I’m implementing for October and probably much of November. Maybe they will inspire you to set some boundaries as well.

I’M LIMITING MY TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA

I will still be posting but I will not be scrolling through my feed as much. I want to limit my time on Facebook to once a day, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I fall short of that goal. I’m simply going to do the best I can to limit my exposure to political banter.

I’M FOCUSING ON MY GOALS

I’m not allowing my life to shriek to a halt. I’ve set some professional goals and will focus on achieving them. I’ve set a daily wordcount goal and I plan to take part in NaNoWriMo. I will be so busy with NaNo that I won’t have energy left to focus on the post-election chaos.

I’M AVOIDING ONLINE DEBATES

I’m not particularly proud of my social media history. I’ve been unfollowed and blocked by a few individuals because I spoke too harshly or engaged in too much uninvited debate. I haven’t fully recovered from the loss of those friends and acquaintances. Especially knowing I was out-of-line and their boundary-setting was merited. I’m not proud.

But I have learned my lesson. I’ve learned I need to be as careful with my online relationships as my in-person relationships. I still mess up. I’m a work in process. But I am much more mindful of the comments and statements I make on social media than I used to be.

People are drawing lines based on political affiliations. They are unfriending and abandoning relationships because of ideological differences. We live in a very contentious time, and I don’t want to come out the other side of this election with collateral damage.

So, I’m setting a rule for myself to avoid political debates on social media. Because I’m opinionated, this will be difficult for me. Like I said, I’m a work in process. However, for me, the election simply isn’t worth losing friends over; therefore, I plan to keep my opinions to myself from here on out.

I’M AVOIDING PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

Do I even need to explain the why’s and wherefore’s of this decision? I mean, really. After the fiasco of the first “debate”, what’s the point?

I’M FOCUSING ON GOD’S PROMISES

God is in control. He controls the election outcome. He allowed Obama to win, who is a liberal. He allowed Trump to win, who is a conservative. God had his reasons for allowing each man to win, reasons that are beyond our understanding.

He uses every single event and outcome to bring more men and women to Christ. While a Trump or Biden presidency might not make sense to us, God knows how it fits into the larger puzzle of mankind’s redemption. We can trust Him. Always.

Also, remember, every member of Christ’s Church is already victorious. You know who you are. But because of discouragement, fear, or anxiety, you may have forgotten that you live every day in victory. Satan has no hold on you. It doesn’t matter where you are, how you feel, or who wins the presidency: You are on the winning team.

One day, Christ will return and establish his kingdom on earth. The old world will pass away. Our bodies will be made new and none of this will matter.

UNTIL THEN

Make your mental health a priority. If current events and politics are dragging you down, set some boundaries. Disengage. And don’t feel guilty about it. You are allowed to feel peace, even in chaos.

God promises peace that passes understanding.  Embrace it unapologetically.

About the Author

Jessica E. Thomas graduated summa cum laude with Academic Honors in Writing from Ball State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in English and a Minor in Creative Writing. She began her professional career in marketing at a large Indianapolis law firm. Since transitioning to Information Technology in 2001, she has worked in the pharmaceutical, student loan, and finance industries as a computer programmer, systems analyst, Web developer, and technical writer. She has authored two novels, three novellas, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a children’s book.