A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association and Harris Interactive reported nearly 70% of Americans had high levels of stress about November's presidential election. Unfortunately, stress levels remain high due to recent events. The stress is understandable, and if it’s impacting your ability to focus on daily activities, it’s appropriate to schedule an appointment to talk with a counselor by calling 217-333-3704. Other tips for managing political stress include:
Manage your media consumption. With social media and 24-hour news networks, there's no shortage of information. It's tempting to continue to plug in, but too much information can be overwhelming and add to your anxiety. Take breaks--"doomscrolling" isn't helpful for anyone.
Carefully choose the people with whom you discuss politics. While it's good to be open other points of view, some people may not be able to have a respectful discussion. If you're concerned a conversation may lead to an unproductive (where emotions are heated and name-calling occurs) conflict, it may be better to change the subject or simply state that you're not comfortable having a discussion at this time.
Practice mindfulness. When things are stressful, check in with yourself and notice where you may be feeling tension in your body. Stretch and relax the areas you're holding stress, take a few deep breaths, and focus only on your breath. If your mind wanders, simply notice it, but bring your attention back to your breathing until you start to feel a little more calm.
Prioritize self-care. Make sure you're meeting your immediate needs by staying hydrated, eating foods that will nourish your body, moving regularly, and checking in with friends and family who reinforce positive feelings.
Below are some additional resources to help you if everything feel overwhelming.
Counseling Center Brochure: Being Assertive in a Multicultural World
APA: Managing Stress Related to Political Change
Headspace: Four Ways to Cope When Politics are Stressing You Out
The Jed Foundation: Managing Election Stress
Science-Backed Ways to Cope with Election Anxiety
Managing Election Stress and Burnout