Here in America, we have an election coming up in just under a week. If you don’t live under a rock, you know that already. You know because of the uptick in conversation on social media, something I myself am guilty of, as well as the endless supply of yard signs popping up like weeds in your neighbor’s yards, something I am also guilty of. And for many in this country, the election is fueling their anxiety, driving it up even higher than it already was with COVID related stress.
And as this “Election Stress Disorder” spans the political spectrum, I will aim to be apolitical in this post. Because the unfortunate reality is that both sides are anxious about what it will mean if the other side wins. Both sides see trouble ahead if their chosen candidates don’t win.
So how can you handle this stress? According to Psychology Today, there are several tools you can use. One, make a plan to vote. Regardless of who you support, both sides agree this could be one of the most important elections in our history. So get out there and vote.
Two, if you want to get involved, find the easiest option, which should also be the one that causes you the less stress. During the primaries for example, I volunteered to phone bank from home, but since I found that that triggered my social anxiety too much, I found other ways of being involved since then.
Three, acknowledge your feelings. Allow yourself to feel them. As someone who has battled anxiety for many non-election years, I can tell you that ignoring your feelings never works. Acknowledge them, talk about them, do whatever you need to do to process them.
And lastly, keep those who disagree with you close. I have several friends and family who disagree with me politically, and I always enjoy our conversations as well as the time I get to spend with them. The fact is that part of what is driving anxiety about the other side is that too many Americans don’t take the time to engage with those who disagree with them, which has led to the current divisive state of this nation.
And for readers in the rest of the world, I am sorry that America has such ridiculously bombastic elections, elections that inevitably dissolve into months of ugly mud-slinging by both sides. It would be much easier if we simply limited political campaigns to two months, but I suspect that is a pipe dream of mine.
So wherever you are and whoever you are voting for, I sincerely hope this post has helped if election stress is weighing on you. And if nothing else, remember that this will eventually pass, even if we must wait for days or weeks past election night, this moment will pass.
And as always, thanks for reading.