Between the constant campaign news and the repeated calls from phone bankers to get to the polls, U.S. presidential election season is always hectic. This election season, however, is truly unprecedented. A pandemic, a severe economic downturn, natural disasters, and nationwide Black-led racial justice protests, have left many of us needing a moment to step back and catch our breath.
At the same time, politics — in whatever form that means to you — are hugely important. This is particularly true for people of color, essential workers, LGBTQIA+ people, and others who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and by racist and anti-minority state violence.
Translating this passion into political campaigning, activism, and other public-spirited work can be a definite boost to our mental health. It can increase our sense of social connection, imbue us with a sense of purpose, and strengthen our bonds with our communities — one of the most important factors in mental wellness. But when the stakes of political engagement are so high, we can feel easily overwhelmed — and it can be difficult to take time to recharge.