How To Cope With Stress Caused By The Upcoming Election
As we approach November, Americans on both sides of the aisle are stressed out this election year. In a recent survey, 47% of people said the 2020 presidential election has impacted their ability to get work done. Now, as political tensions continue to intensify, it’s important to find ways to cope with election-related stress so it doesn’t take over your life. Here are some nonpartisan tips that can help prioritize your mental health before, during, and after election day.
Make A Plan
Start by knowing how you’ll vote. Lingering decisions can stress people out. Whether in person or by mail, have a plan on how you’ll cast your vote. Make sure you are properly registered to vote. If you plan to vote by mail, check your official state board of elections website for instructions on how to request your ballot. If you plan to vote in person, identify your polling
station – remember that in-person voting looks different this year because of COVID-19. Having a plan can help eliminate decision-making stressors.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Politics are on the list of sensitive subjects that require healthy boundaries. People can quickly resort to anger and relationship-damaging behavior if they are pushed beyond their individual limits. Political conversations can quickly turn into emotional investments for those involved. Setting healthy boundaries, agreeing to disagree, and knowing when to walk away or change the subject can all help preserve meaningful relationships.
Have A Digital Detox
Misinformation regarding politics has been a common headline in America during this age of social media. The most important thing any of us can do is stay engaged and properly informed as voters and citizens. Start by checking your sources. Don’t let opinion pieces and ‘clickbait’ throw your entire day off track! Create a schedule as to how you will consume the news. For example, check-in over morning coffee then step away so you can redirect your focus and energy. This type of structure can help you avoid anxiety-provoking moments of endless scrolling that keep you up at night.
Stay Close To Loved Ones
Human connection is comforting! Surround yourself with people who don’t spike your stress levels – and stay away from this who do. Just being in the presence of someone you love can make you feel better. Science tells us that feelings of trust, safety, and comfort lower the body’s stress-related responses and, in turn, improve heart health.
Even if the election doesn’t go the way you had hoped, it doesn’t have to ruin your life. We’ll all need time to process and understand the results of the election. Give yourself the personal space to change your focus. Having your candidate not win can be very disappointing. Sometimes, when you experience anxiety but have no power to directly change the circumstances, one thing you can do to reduce stress is change your outlook. Try to focus on the good in your life, our nation, and the world! Find healthy ways to create positive change when it comes to the issues that are important to you.
Above all, it’s essential to manage your stress before, during, and after the election. Chronic stress can impact your physical and mental health. Prolonged stress can fuel anxiety and create a downward spiral of mental health issues.
If you are impacted by chronic stress that’s increasing anxiety and depression, reach out for support. Our COPE supported centers across the country provide revolutionary treatment options for those difficult to treat cases of common mental illnesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our care coordinator to learn more about evidence-based psychiatric treatment for major depression, anxiety, bipolar depression, chronic pain, PTSD, and OCD among others.