Fall Time Change 2016: Sleep Before Election Tuesday

Last month, I took a scheduled break from work and walked down Madison Avenue with a clipboard and pen, armed with printed voter registration forms on which I had affixed the proper postage stamp. I stopped random men on the street and may have mentioned that I was doing a poll about voting. I did not mention for whom I was doing the poll and oddly enough no one seemed to care. I asked if they were registered to vote. If they were not registered to vote, I offered to help them fill out the voter registration forms right there on Madison Avenue. Everyone claimed to be registered and knew where they were to vote except three men whom I talked into filling out the voter registration form. I walked each to a postal box to place the form to be mailed.  I explained to each man how to find how where they were to vote and encouraged each one to participate in our obligation and honor to vote for those who will be the leader of our country. I thanked them for their kindness in helping me do my job.

Last night, I took the recommendations I have given to others with sleep disorders and situation specific anxiety. First, I had to acknowledge that I had done all that I, one person, could do to effect change and that there was no more I could do. I removed my devices from the bedroom two hours before bed. I took a warm bath with lavender bath oil. I read a pleasant Icelandic murder mystery for an hour. I listened to my most soothing meditation music. I fell asleep easier than I have in months and today, the first work day after the gift of an extra hour from our return to Standard Time, I am at peace. Tomorrow is Election Tuesday. I will vote and I know that you will, too.

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  • Pam Goldman November 9, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Thank you Dr. Allen for the part you played, and to Michelle for your incredible lesson…but sadly many of us went to sleep with anxiety and awoke at 3AM to watch an “acceptance speech” we never thought we would see. I have never been very political but feel today that “women’s voices for change” has taken on an entirely new meaning. I hope we haven’t set our country back 50 years, or worse. I pledge to do what I can to make sure women’s voices will always be heard.

    • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. November 9, 2016 at 8:17 am

      Dear Pam,
      Thank you for your condolence note. Your comment was unexpected and a reminder that I can’t just take to my bed in despair but will have to find the strength to start over again. I never believed the polls that Hilary Clinton would win this election. I know the people who hate women in power. I know the people who feel that “government” is responsible for all the woes of the unemployed and that “liberals” have ruined “American values. I also know the people who want to keep the taxes on their enormous wealth low. Those of us who did something to make it possible for a competent woman to become President of the United States must remember that we did try. We must grieve for the loss of the country we thought we knew and look for reconciliation in the country that we really live in
      . But after grief, we must begin the battle again: this time on the ground to train and support young women and members of all minorities…those just beginning their careers in public service; we need to organize and register everyone in every city. Demographics are changing rapidly in this country and we need to be part of the process that helps all those who have been marginalized in this race to become registered to vote and to become part of the civic process that entails understanding the issues and supporting candidates who will serve all the people. To everyone who did not vote, even if “it did not matter in NYC” I remind you: No vote, No voice.
      Dr. Pat

  • Michelle Abel November 7, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    In my 6th grade social studies class today, in response to the voting booth I set up, one student asked if he needed to vote. After all we had discussed, researched, and debated, I opened this up for discussion. What resulted was the idea that democracy is a verb more than a noun. It is an action- what we Do, not what we have. What we must do to preserve what we have. A lot for 6th graders to comprehend, but the most essential goal of social studies- what does it mean to be a citizen? What are the rights and responsibilities of the individual here and in the global community? Our young need to understand the power of voice and the privelege we have to exercise that voice in our democracy.. a voice that many do not have.
    Raising awareness, empowering individuals, young and old, “to be the change they want to see”.
    Here’s to building a better future,,,

    • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. November 7, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks for the work that you are doing: teaching sixth graders about the responsibilities and rewards of citizenship. Perhaps you could create a podcast for the adults in America who seemed to have forgotten: no vote, no voice.
      Pat Allen