This year’s election cycle has been unprecedented in many ways, including the nomination of two candidates with high unfavorable ratings. This has caused feelings of stress and anxiety among many voters. As the political rhetoric increases and voters are inundated with reporting, advertising, and social media, that stress and anxiety could increase leading up to election day on November 8th. Here are some tips on how to maintain good mental health during the election.
- Vote Early: As anticipation of election day builds it can make you feel a lack of control about your life and about the future of our country. If your state allows it, cast your ballot early or sign up to receive an absentee ballot. Voting early gives you some closure and lets you know that you have taken care of this important responsibility. Once you do that, it’ll be much easier to shut out the election coverage.
- Minimize Screen Time: Chances are, both your TV and social media channels have been taken over by this election craze. Turn off your computer and back away. Find a book off the New York Times bestseller list, start doing crossword puzzles, go for a run, or catch up with a friend. Utilize this time to take control of areas of your life that could make you happier and put your focus there.
- Avoid Political Arguments: It may be tempting to weigh in on an political remark made by a coworker or family member, but it’s not likely that the interaction will leave you feeling any better. Instead, excuse yourself from the conversation or direct it in a less contentious direction.
- Look out for Feelings of Depression and Anxiety: While some stress is normal, if symptoms like worry, dread, or hopelessness are impacting the quality of your daily life, it might be a good idea to seek out help from a trained mental health professional to see if you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, which is common, but treatable.
One popular meme floating around the internet describes the political tension right now like divorced parents fighting over custody of a child. It does a good job describing the potential impact of the tension, stress, and fear-inducing rhetoric that has become commonplace during this election.