Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Students and Postdocs

Main content start

Stress, self-care and the election

Many of you may be voting for the first time. For those who are not eligible to vote, engagement in social change movements may be your mode of active engagement. This has been a difficult year! We would like to offer some tips and resources.

Make a plan. If you haven’t registered to vote yet and are eligible, don’t delay, as voter registration deadlines are approaching in many states. Check out StanfordVotes for additional information. Become familiar with the candidates running for office and the issues prior to arriving at your designated polling place, and prepare for the likelihood of delays. For those who live locally in Santa Clara County, you may vote in person or drop off your ballot at Tressider, an official polling place, from October 31 through Election Day. Mail-in voting is also an option. 

Acknowledge your feelings. You may be experiencing a range of emotions during this time and after the election. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and acknowledge that your emotions are real and valid. Others around you may not share the same points of view as you do. Find people to connect with and healthy outlets where you can express how you feel. We may not know the election outcome on November 3, which may intensify your feelings and lead to distress for yourself and those around you.

Respect diverse ideas. Stanford aspires to be a community in which an intellectually rigorous and fact-based approach gives us common ground for fruitful discussions, even about the most contentious topics. We are in a period of extreme political divisiveness yet we must not allow this to undermine our commitment to being a place where academic freedom, respect towards one another and a diversity of ideas are embraced. This may be especially challenging as you try to manage the charged political climate with those in your immediate surroundings, who may hold different belief systems, and is further exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Be safe. Participating in this election may be more challenging this year with the need to take COVID-19 precautions. Wear your mask and bring your hand sanitizer to the ballot box if voting in person and follow social distancing guidelines. Demonstrations frequently lead up to and follow an election. We recognize that it is important to gather in solidarity and support in times of great significance, or great tragedy. We can offer assistance in helping you plan, facilitate and lead community gatherings that align with our broader university values. You’ll find more information on this below, under “campus resources.” Please be safe as you exercise your right to be civically engaged.

Take care of yourself. While it’s tempting to stay glued to social media or the TV for the latest update on election news, try to maintain your normal routine and engage in health promoting activities. Fostering balance in your life is especially important during this time as well as maintaining connections with others. We encourage you to seek connection and ground yourself in communities that foster a sense of safety and support.