Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
Election Day is almost here, and even though I voted early, I’m stressed about what’s to come. I’ll be relieved once the negative ads and heated debates finally end, but I’m seriously afraid of my candidate losing. I’ve been losing sleep at night and can’t focus during the day because of all the what-ifs that might happen after Election Day. Instead of feeling relief, I’m expecting that my anxiety is only going to get worse if my candidate loses. How can I get a better handle on my stress after November 3rd?
After so much back-and-forth mudslinging, Election Day will be here in a matter of hours. And while the excitement of casting a ballot and the relief of not having to listen to one more political ad fills many of us with joy, others are dealing with some very different emotions now that may continue after the election. If you’re struggling with anxiety or stress and aren’t sure how to manage your emotions, then know that we at Rice Psychology Group understand.
2020: The Year of Worry
According to a poll published by the American Psychological Association, over two-thirds of American adults say that the 2020 presidential election is a significant source of stress in their daily life regardless of political affiliation. Why is that?
For starters, 2020 has been a year unlike anything we’ve ever seen. With a global pandemic, weak economy, and social unrest, it’s hard for us to not worry about who the next leader of our country will be. And with both parties butting heads on every issue, emotions are at an all-time high. There are ways to do what’s best for our mental health and continue to try and create change in positive ways.
Take Your Mind Off of the Bad Stuff
First, let’s talk about getting through Election Day. You educated yourself, did your research, and cast your vote. Now what? Don’t sit around all day watching the news and reading angry social media posts. SHUT IT DOWN for the day! If you’re off from work, then staying active or reading a book during the day to take your mind off things is a good start. You can also find support by talking with friends or family to distract yourself. Wait until the evening to check in or just do so very briefly every few hours.
We all know how to handle our joy and excitement if our candidate wins, but what if he loses? Here are some helpful tips from DoSomething.org:
- If you’re feeling unsettled after the election, tell your friends or loved ones what’s on your mind in a safe setting. Don’t attack them if they see things a little differently. If they are able to offer you an ear, see if they are interested in understanding why you feel the way you do.
- Don’t avoid your feelings. If you’re sad or angry, then let yourself feel these emotions. They will be uncomfortable, but experiencing them is a necessary part of healing. Some people benefit from writing about how they feel. Also, your sadness may feel a lot like grief, and we know that when it comes to mourning, everyone has their own timeline. So, take as long as you need to process this and feel better.
- Try meditating or taking a warm bath to relax. Centering on your mind and thoughts can ease your body.
- Show kindness. Even if you’re sad, afraid, or angry at the election’s outcome, showing kindness and love to others can help you feel better.
- Connect with others even if they voted differently. Avoid talking politics for a while. Do activities with friends or loved ones that bring you together.
- Be sure to talk with your friends. If they’re experiencing strong, negative emotions, listen and let them know it’s okay to feel this way. Help them understand that they’re not alone and that you understand where they’re coming from.
- When you’re ready, continue to be involved. Just because your candidate won or lost doesn’t mean your dedication to improving your community is over. Find ways to volunteer, sit in on a local government meeting, voice your opinions, and stay on top of the issues that mean most to you. We still need your enthusiasm and passion. It’s what makes our country so great!
Let’s Talk in Tampa
Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, our licensed psychologists and therapists in Tampa are ready to help you work through those uneasy feelings and stress. We firmly believe one of the best things for your mental health is to talk to someone. Please feel free to contact us at any time to schedule your free, 10-minute consultation. We currently offer private, online sessions via telehealth as well as a limited number of telehealth and in-person evaluations for all ages.