Election Day is one week away, and more than two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) say that the 2020 presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). That’s a big jump from the 2016 presidential election when 52% said the same. Those numbers held true regardless of your party affiliation. 76% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans and 64% of Independents said the upcoming election is a significant source of stress.
How can you fight your election-related stress?
The APA offered the following tips:
Uncertainty is often stressful, and some people are better at dealing than others. The election, the global pandemic, and social unrest have made 2020 particularly uncertain. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control, and break the habit of imagining the worst-case scenario.
Focus on what you CAN control. If the news, social media, or constantly refreshing polling websites (we admit, some of us are guilty of this) is stressing you out, limit your media consumption. Give yourself permission to take a break from the noise.
Do something else to keep your mind off of the elections. Instead of fixating on news coverage, find an activity that you really enjoy and spend time doing it. Get involved in issues that are meaningful to you. By making a plan on how you will vote, for example — in person, by mail or as part of early voting — you are more likely to follow through. Have you not made your plan yet? Vote.org can help you find your local polling place, find early voting locations, locate a drop box, see what’s on your ballot, check your registration status, register (if your state still allows it) and more!
Stay socially connected (not necessarily on social media). Go for a (masked and socially distanced) walk or spend time with your quaran-team friends and family. Research shows that people who have at least one or two friends or family members to turn to for emotional support during stressful times tend to cope better than people who don’t have such support.
Stay active. Exercise helps with so many areas of our health, and stress levels is one of them. Moving helps us release the energy we experience when we feel stressed.
Manage your expectations. We might not know who won the election on Election Day. If you think this will raise your anxiety, keep busy with things that you enjoy and stay connected to social support so that you aren’t continually checking for what could be viewed as “bad” news.
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