Tips and tricks to help melt away post-election stress

For some students, the U.S. presidential election cycle been going on since they arrived on campus. And even for those who have been students longer than that, the campaign season seemed endless. But now the election whirlwind is finally over: no more nights of studying interrupted by debates or pressure to keep up with constant poll analysis.

For many students, the results of the election have only caused more stress, so it’s especially important to find ways to take care of yourself and make it through the end of the semester in good mental and physical health. Here are some ways to help with political panic or exhaustion. From taking a hike to deleting your account, you should be feeling refreshed by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around.

Outdoor exercise:
If you have the time and a Zipcar account, take a walk through the winter wonderland of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to distract yourself from post-election gloom.

The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, located in Vienna, Va., are beautiful during the spring and summer months with their cobblestone walkways, sprawling green fields spotted with seasonal florals and – their main attraction – a Monet-esque island bridge that crosses a placid lake.

But during the winter, the park is dressed up for its annual Winter Walk of Lights. Everything from the trees lining the trails to the gazebos, the lake and the famed Fountain of Lights are decked out for an animated glowing display. Let this magical half-mile walk transport you away from the stresses of school, work and a particularly tense presidential election.

If you can’t get away from D.C.:
Georgetown and GW students share a neighborhood secret: Tucked away near the canals of Georgetown is a lookout that towers over the Potomac River. From its vantage point, you can see the lights of the Deloitte building across the Key Bridge or catch clips of music from the houseboats drifting by.

This lonely stone lookout is a fairly popular late-night destination for students. To get there, follow K Street until you get to the large parking lot past the kayak port, then turn right and climb up the small cement staircase.

The staircase is grubby, littered with cigarette butts and radiating the smell of urine. Don’t let this discourage you. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the lookout past a bent metal guardrail and, if you go at night, the low chatter of a few other students.

Social media:
In this strained political climate, logging onto Facebook this year has probably brought with it an increasing sense of dread. You never know which of your extended family members or former middle school classmates is going to post an essay of a status revealing opposite political views. While it’s important to be exposed to views other than your own, the constant barrage of opinions can be stressful.

If you’re scrolling through your feed and see a political status with which you vehemently disagree, just hover over that person’s name and click the unfriend button to feel the sense of relief wash over you.

If you can’t unfriend someone for whatever reason, you can always go to their page and “unfollow” them. Like the mute button on Twitter, “unfollowing” allows you to still view everything on their profiles without posts popping up on your newsfeed.

Of course, you could deactivate your social media accounts altogether. It may seem extreme, but you can trust that the people who you care about most will find other ways to connect with you. Send your high school friend you haven’t talked to in a while a text, or call your grandma up on the phone – they are guaranteed to appreciate that gesture more than a Facebook like. After all, you can always reactivate your account when you’re ready.

Mental health:
Take care of yourself and do little things that you know make you happy. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions.

Even though it’s a bit early, listen to Christmas music to get yourself into the holiday spirit. If you don’t enjoy Christmas carols, any kind of music you typically enjoy can be uplifting.

Revamp your hygiene routine with a face mask or a bubble bath. Try Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Treatment masks and treat yourself to a well-deserved spa day. If you’re not into the beauty routine, turn on relaxing music and ambient lighting, and snuggle up to your favorite Netflix show to calm down for the night.

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