November 2020

Election Stress

Because of the pandemic, job uncertainty, social justice confrontations, ex- treme wildfire and hurricane issues, heated rhetoric from the candidates and more, the stress Americans are facing this election cycle is “far worse” than previous seasons, says Dr. Stosny, a D.C.-based therapist, who coined the term “Election Stress Disorder”

Dr. Breland-Noble says “..for anxious
people, the worry comes when you think too far ahead about what might happen that you have no control over, or you reminisce too much about stuff that’s already happened that you can’t change. “We can’t pay attention to what’s going to happen on election day. But you can focus on to- day, where you are in this moment. If I can stay rooted in this moment and stay present, that reduces my propensity to yield to the stress that comes with worrying about what’s going to happen.”

Suggestions for Election Stress:

Control what you can—The starting point is: Register to vote, and vote. Beyond that, “Do what- ever you can: Write letters, go to demonstrations, lobby Congress,” Dr. Stosny says. You can’t control everything — but together with others, you can be part of a movement that does make change

Limit your news and social media expo- sure— Since uncertainty is viewed as a threat, then too much exposure to the news can keep your stress levels high. Decide where you want to focus your attention. If social media posts are upsetting, move away from it. A comedy may be a better option in that moment.

Turn off the TV—and pick up a hobby, a deck of cards or a board game. Each of these things help you lower your stress level by focusing on some- thing else and connecting you to others.

Stay away from social media conflict – If you enjoy posting and are find- ing yourself getting increasingly worked up about responses to your posts or the posts of others, then take a break from it. Spend your storytelling energy in Facetime conversations with loved ones.

Boundaries—Keep strong boundaries with others at work if they seem to be agitating you with their comments. Tell them you are not interested in the

subject or change the subject.

Self-Care—Make sure that you have some self- care routines in place, and that you’re supporting yourself with a good diet and some exercise, along with a hobby that’s totally separate from the election. Any kind of activity that absorbs your whole mind that you can really kind of lose yourself in is helpful.

Talk—Try to surround yourself with positive friends and family who you can talk to. Spend quality time with people you enjoy and love.

Limit draining conversations—If you’re finding that there are individuals who are draining you in terms of conversation and that conversation is ulti- mately not fulfilling to you, you can always respect- fully set boundaries around that individual or those types of conversations.