No matter who you support, Election Day is a long process this year. People have been losing sleep and experiencing stress like no election in modern history. This stress has only been amplified by COVID-19. As we await the results of the election, what can we do to lower our stress levels?
1. Put your phone away. While paying attention to the election results is important, establishing limitations to your media intake may make the day easier. Try deleting social media apps for the day, making them harder to access. Television can be equally stressful. Limit your cable news consumption and only tune in when you feel that you are in a mentally appropriate place to handle it.
2. Find other things to do. The election may take a few days to conclude. Instead of spending hours on social media or searching news stories, do something that brings you joy. Bake a cake, go for a walk, or schedule a socially distant hangout.
3. Keep it all in perspective. No matter the outcome of the election, it is unlikely that anything will change in the immediate future. Remember that your day to day life will change very little for the time being.
4. Set boundaries in conversations post-election. After the 2016 election, Thanksgiving meals shortened by an average of 30-50 minutes. If you are concerned about an argument, don’t talk about the election at all. Set up ground rules beforehand so no one feels personally attacked or gets angry.
5. Reach out for help. If the anxiety of the election and the immediate aftermath are too much to handle, reach out to a like-minded friend or a professional. Election anxiety is a serious concern and the stress can take a toll on your mental health.