Five Ways to Cope with Election Stress

November 03, 2016

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there is a good chance the 2016 presidential campaign has caused you stress, which could be having an impact on your health. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association’s survey Stress in America™, parts of which were just released last week, 52 percent of Americans consider the 2016 presidential election a significant source of stress in their lives. This stress affects young and old, Republican and Democrat, and all races and ethnicities.

To help make the next few days a bit less stressful, we’ve compiled some tips to help you cope with the stress of the upcoming election.

  1. Try not to talk about it. Discussing politics is usually considered taboo in most social and professional arenas, but the drama surrounding this year’s election has likely led most people to abandon that etiquette. Try your best to avoid bringing it up with family, friends and coworkers, even with people who share your views. Commiserating with people about the candidate you both love to hate also elevates stress. Instead, focus on other common interests and positive aspects of your relationships.
  2. Exercise. Stress relief can come in many forms, but one of the most effective forms is exercise. A good workout releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body and help you avoid negative conversations. If you’ve always wanted to try yoga or tai chi, now is a perfect time to start, as those activities help you become more centered and mindful.
  3. Rest and Eat a Balanced Diet. Sleep deprivation and a poor diet can cause irritability and decrease your ability to manage stressful situations. Make sure you’re not getting so caught up in the election drama that you’re neglecting your body and mind.
  4. Turn off the TV. If you’ve already made up your mind on who you’re voting for, why continue to watch the election coverage? Instead of turning the news on at night or scanning your favorite online news sources, spend your time doing something that brings you joy.
  5. Use technology to your advantage. There is something to be said for civil discourse about the election, but social media makes it too easy for that discourse to escalate, either indirectly through the sharing of articles and memes, or directly by engaging in heated discussions. In fact, the Stress in America™ survey revealed that 54 percent of adults who use social media say the election is a significant source of stress, versus 45 percent who do not use social media.

To help lower your social media stress, consider using the filtering features that Facebook makes available. For example, if you’re tired of seeing articles shared from an extremely biased source, don’t unfriend the people who share those posts – just hide all posts from that source. To learn how to filter your newsfeed, visit www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-block-annoying-facebook-political-posts/ .