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Self-care after hearing the same-sex marriage result

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The Australian Marriage Equality Postal Survey result is due to be announced today.

Whatever the result — whether you're elated, pleased, disappointed or devastated — it's going to be a big, emotional day across the country. Self-care is going to be important.

Here are a few suggestions for looking after yourself over the next couple of days.

Stay socially connected

Whatever happens, but especially if the result doesn't go the way you wanted, you may feel left behind and isolated, or like you want to withdraw. That's natural, but it can be really helpful to stay in touch with at least one or two people. 

Text, call, tweet, snap or message someone you know. They can support you, and you can support them, too. There's strength and safety in connection.

Communicate how you feel

It's easy to focus on the state of the world around you – 'everything is GREAT!' 'everything is TERRIBLE!' – but what's really effective when you're very emotional is naming those emotions. If you feel devastated, sad, angry, helpless, say so. If you feel ecstatic, triumphant, joyful, connected to something bigger – tell people that too. 

And be aware that your emotions may not be that simple. You can feel relief, exhaustion, grief and generally overwhelmed, no matter what the result. It's okay to feel negative emotions even if you got the result you wanted, and vice versa.

Control who you read

No matter what the result is, some people will be very angry, and they'll post their anger online. Do you want to read them? Will you feel better if you do?

There's no one right answer to this – if it helps you to feel connected to people who have the same reaction as you, go for it. Just monitor how you're feeling — if it starts to become too much, take a break.

Control how much you read

All we'll find out today is whether it's yes or no, and what the margin is. It's okay to switch off at that point if it helps. For some people, staying close to the news is calming. For others, a little is enough. Claim some quiet time.

Hydrate, nourish, rest

Nothing helps more than the basics. Drink lots of water, eat regular, healthy meals and lock in lots of rest time. Each of these things gives you energy and strength to handle big emotions, whether they're positive or negative.

Do other things

When you zoom in on one thing, the rest of the world goes out of focus and your perception can get warped. When that happens, emotions intensify and your ability to judge the situation accurately can be affected.

So stay in touch with the rest of the world. Take a walk, read a book, listen to that song that always makes you feel better, do an hour's work. Engage your mind in something else that's meaningful to you.

Seek help

If you're feeling distressed:

  • call Qlife on 1800 184 527 from 3pm–midnight
  • call Lifeline on 13 11 14 any time
  • call the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 any time 
  • call 000 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger
  • call the SANE Help Centre on 1800 18 72 63 from 10am–10pm for information, advice and support on mental health.

Remember, nothing changes today

Regardless of the result, the law won't change today. If it's yes, there's still a political and legislative process to go through, which will take time. If it's no, there will be more political debate about marriage equality as we head towards the next Federal election.

There will be more emotional days to come, more ups and downs. Look after yourself.

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