Congratulations... Now What? Your Mental and Physical Health

The following is the last part in a series of three posts from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) that provides incoming lawmakers with tips on how to succeed in Washington. You can read the first two parts here and here.

• Miss a vote early; you will miss one someday anyhow. Don't let a meaningless vote streak get in the way of doing your job. Although it may sound far-fetched, the choice can actually come down to an inconsequential vote for naming a post office versus speaking at the United Nations. You do want to maintain a good voting record, but do not make that an obsession. You will hear this repeatedly from people. Listen to them. They are right.

• You don't have to take a position on everything. People will try to find out what you think and pin you down, often on issues that aren't fully developed, sometimes on the way to your committee or on the way to the House Floor for a vote. Take your time, listen, and think about it, but don’t commit unnecessarily. Ultimately, you will save yourself a lot of heartburn and your decisions, when you have to make them, will be better.

• Don't vote against your conscience and/or best judgment; it is the one thing that you cannot explain to your family and close supporters. While the campaign is still fresh, think about the lies and outrageous claims that were said about you and others in this brutal election season. This awareness will make it easier for you to vote for what you think is in the best interests of your constituents and your country. Special interests may twist, distort, and outright lie about your record anyway. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can avoid this by fudging your votes or voting against your conscience.

• Schedule at least three “meetings on the move