Well, it’s that time again. The time that everyone in the country starts awake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat asking…
“Yikes! What if THAT guy wins?!
Yes, it’s a stressful question regardless of which side of the political football stadium you’re sitting in. We sit in the bleachers of that stadium watching the cheerleaders, asking ourselves why they are part of the game and why anyone is watching them. They wave their pom-poms with their backs to the two teams…completely oblivious to what’s actually going on on the field. Their sole purpose is to cheer for their own players and get the audience whipped up into a frenzy of team spirit and blind enthusiasm.
An epic scandal breaks in the news and the cheerleaders dance and shout:
♪ “That’s Alright! That’s OK! We Can Beat ‘Em Anyway!” ♪
The other team gets the ball and they shout:
♪ “Defense! Defense!” ♪
A referee blows his whistle and calls a foul and they wrinkle their cheerleader brows and shout “Boo! Boo!” regardless of the fact that they have no understanding of, or interest in, the actual rules of the game and didn’t see what happened anyway. To their mind, it’s a great injustice and the refs are blind!
There are two types of people in the stands; those who actually understand the game and are legitimately concerned about the consequences of the outcome and those that just came to cheer and complain and eat hot dogs in the cold. On the other side of the field sits a group of very similar folks.
As the game progresses and nears its end, tensions grow and the members of both sides of the audience feel their stress levels rising with each passing moment.
This game is played every four years here in America. As the leaves of autumn begin to change color and fall, the two teams huddle up to plan their last plays of the season before the final whistle blows on election day.
So, how are you holding up?
Are you feeling stressed about the outcomes of the election?
Is it affecting your concentration? Is it costing you some sleep at night?
Well, there is some hope. Here are a few things you can do to decrease your stress and increase your peace during these stressful times:
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but good nutrition is the foundation of health, wellness and…wait for it…stress resistance. Your body needs real food, particularly real plant food to be at its best. In addition to good quality fruits and vegetables, there are a number of nutritive herbs that can provide micro-minerals and other nutrients that are hard to come by in modern American table fare.
Get Some Rest
Take some time every day for peaceful reflection on something BESIDES the election. Count your blessings, paint a picture, call your loved ones and talk about your dog instead of your candidate. Speaking of dogs, they make great company during times of stress. Get a tennis ball and head out to the back yard with that furry rascal. Perhaps most importantly, stay away from screens (including your phone screen) for a couple of hours before bed.
Get Some Exercise
If anyone tells my wife I mentioned this…I’ll deny it. But getting some good exercise is one of the cornerstones of good health and, particularly, low stress. Physical activity resets the stress response and tells the adrenal glands that everything is going to be OK. You see, our adrenal glands can’t see things. It’s dark in there. So if you walk or run or ride your bike for a bit, they’ll think your running away from that big lion or whatever the heck it was that was stressing you. Once the exercise is over, the little rascals will assume you’ve gotten away from whatever it was that was bad and scary and they’ll stop cranking out the cortisol and adrenaline and other stress hormones. Adrenal glands aren’t that smart. Even the act of deep breathing can trick the little guys into calming down. After all, no one breathes deeply and calmly like that when something bad is chasing them.
One of the best cures for stress is loving and serving others, particularly if that love and service is anonymous or for someone we don’t even know and, more particularly, if that love and service is provided for someone we may be at odds with personally or ideologically. Find someone that you disagree with. Be kind to them. Listen to them. Do something to help them. If you do this often enough, and with real intent, it won’t be long before you begin to see that person the way God sees them. And, if you are open to that, you will begin to feel about them the way God feels about them. Nothing takes the wind out of anger’s sails like this does.
Take Some Herbs
Yeah…you knew I’d be bringing this up eventually. But the fact is that there are a number of herbs that can help us adapt to stress. Herbalists call them adaptogens. Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha and reishi mushrooms can all be good. Oat straw is one of my favorites. It seems to have an amazing power to unfrazzle frazzled nerves without being sedating. These and other herbs also support the pituitary and adrenal glands. Other plants can help with anxiety or insomnia. Some of my favorites are valerian, skullcap and chamomile.
If you’d like the “Easy Button” for herbal stress, anxiety and insomnia relief, have a look at the HomeGrown Herbalist General Stress Kit.
I wish you the best this election week. Do what you can to do some good and take care of yourself.