How is it with your soul?
John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist movement in the 18th century, used to open small group meetings by asking that question.
It’s one worth asking ourselves in the 21st century, too. Particularly on the eve of Election Day, after months of political upheaval.
We are nearing the end of the campaigns, the robo-calls, the television ads, but the divisions and bitterness won’t go away automatically Wednesday morning.
Neither will the anxiety.
A recent poll by the American Psychological Association indicated that 52% of Americans have Election Stress Disorder. Adults who use social media are more likely to be stressed out by all of the political talk, according to the APA.
“The opposite of self care is comments section,” said author Emery Lord, in a tweet.
So how is it with your soul?
I voted a couple of weeks ago, on the first day of early voting in my state. Since then, I’ve avoided the news and let the unidentified callers (i.e., political calls) go to voice mail, which is promptly deleted. I’ve sorted the mail and recycled political flyers without reading them. And I’ve continued to unfollow overtly political and vitriolic friends on social media.
Avoidance may get us through to Wednesday morning, but it won’t bring us restoration and healing. That will take deeper, intentional action over weeks and months, and it can begin with us as we care for our souls, hearts, minds, bodies.
Which of these 5 ideas are you willing to try this week, either before or after you cast your vote?
- As you start each day, take a few extra moments to light a candle, breathe deeply, meditate, pray, and center yourself.
- Pick up the phone and invite your most drama-free, encouraging, heart-focused friend to coffee or dinner early this week.
- Get moving. Exercise helps combat stress. Try a new-to-you way of moving. Stretching? Yoga? How about taking a Prayer Walk or trying a Walking Meditation.
- Tune in to some music. Lately I’ve been listening to The Avett Brothers and Regina Carter, and I just downloaded Norah Jones’ new album. My music interests are pretty broad. Who do you enjoy?
- Make a list of what brings you joy and keep it close. Is it drinking coffee from your favorite mug? Playing with your dog? Browsing a bookstore? Sitting on the porch and watching the birds? Volunteering, helping your community? Go and do that.
Question: What other ideas do you have for guarding your heart and mind, this week and beyond? I would love to hear them. Share in the comments below, or in our “Faith and Sweat” Facebook group, which you can join for free.
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