USFVotes has led the way in making USF a leader in the nation for new voter registration having reached the 10,000 student registration milestone this month. With the election only days away, this serves as encouragement for increased participation among youth voters. In addition to the importance of voting, USFVotes recognizes the emotional impact that comes with being politically engaged. With the enormity of the social issues at stake, it is easy to lose yourself in media and self doubt about the future. Read on for guidance from USFVotes resources on how to keep yourself grounded and mindful before and after the election.
Guidance for Post-Election Period
- Encourage patience.
- Acknowledge our new circumstances, under which previous election norms may not apply. Remind yourself, your students that though this election process may be different, our system is resilient and strong, and we have successfully held elections during many challenging periods in our history.
- Affirm that steps are being taken to verify and count people’s votes, even if this requires more time than usual due to the pandemic. Frame the additional wait as a positive: In order to maintain the integrity of this election, meticulous care must be taken to count all votes. It’s more important for elections officials to get results right, rather than get them fast.
- Elevate credible sources of information. Look to your local elections officials for information and updates on election results.
- Plan for uncertainty.
- Deliver clear, consistent communications.
- Celebrate strong voter turnout, and the people who made it possible.
- Encourage civil discourse.
- Carefully respond to contested results.
See the full document here.
Activism and Long-term Wellness
News/Social Media Information Overload
- Be tactful about your daily scrolls: Not every post, tweet, article or message requires your attention and response. A constant intake of appalling footage and information can be overwhelming and triggering. Take social media breaks.
- Feel: Remember that your feelings are valid and take time to acknowledge them especially anger, sadness, fear.
- Set firm boundaries: You are under no obligation to explain your feelings or educate people on what we are dealing with.
- Indulge in creativity: Seeking out Black art and celebrating Black joy decenters whiteness and can provide some respite from traumatizing media coverage. Create your own art.
- Connect with others: It is important to seek support and comfort from others that you can trust.
- Make sure you follow good news and movement wins: While it’s important to pay attention and not look away from the pain and suffering happening in the Black community and in the movement for racial justice, it’s important to also notice the wins and gains that are being made. Make sure to follow people who are tracking progress as well.
Preventing Burnout and Promoting Sustainability
- Understand that certain successes result in “non-events” that are more difficult to recognize, such as cultural impact or political disasters your activism prevented.
- Realizing systemic change happens bit by bit, over time, and unfolds in various directions as society evolves. Accept the fact that working for justice is a lifetime job, and let that truth sustain a healthy pace and involvement level in your
present work. Take time to celebrate the small victories, and focus on where we come from instead of only where you want to be.
- Understand that personal physical care is good activism (e.g., tending to healthy eating, exercise, sleeping, hygiene, maintaining medical and other personal appointments, etc.)
- Stay connected to life outside activism! Maintain relationships, hobbies, and self- care in addition to organizing and protesting.
- Take periodic sabbaticals from involvement, especially during the natural breaks that come with the ebb and flow of the political world.
- Focus on quality not quantity: prioritize your involvement by doing less, but doing less, more effectively and more thoroughly.
- Connect with social support, whether that’s through fellow activists, therapy, pastoral counseling, or spiritual direction.
- Play to your strengths when possible. Lean toward tasks that come easy to you, are tied to your professional work, are naturally enjoyable, or feed your overall enthusiasm and energy. Try focusing your efforts in one particular area in order
to manage your energy and time more effectively.
Read the full document here.
For a list of upcoming pre and post election events, visit USFVotes Election Events.