How to Combat Election Stress

By Holly Bieler
Updated on 13. Oct. 2020

Feeling stressed about the upcoming election? Try these tips.

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There are many things to be stressed about right now, and the election is among the most pressing of those. As we barrel towards November 3, it can be difficult not to be stressed about what might happen. However excessive anxiety isn’t just unhelpful; it can be dangerous to. Below, EAT SMARTER’s top tips for quelling election anxiety.

Talk it out. 

As with any anxiety, keeping election stress inside will only serve to compound it. On the other hand, talking through your anxiety with a friend or family member is a good way to sort out and gain new perspective on your fears, and also to feel less alone. If you don’t have someone in your life you feel comfortable discussing politics with, keep an election stress journal. Even just getting what’s on your mind down on paper can help you lessen your mental load.

Take breaks from the news when you can.

In 2020, it’s hard to extricate yourself from the news cycle for too long. However limiting your exposure to political news every once in a while is an important step in keeping sane this year. Take stock of where you get most political news-- Twitter, TV, an app, etc. Next, decide on a certain amount of time per week you take a designated break from that source. Download a screen limiting app, and block yourself for as much time as you can per week, whether that’s an hour a week or a day. Extra points for removing yourself from technology altogether during that tie. 

Remove stressors (people and otherwise).

Part of mitigating any stress is limiting your exposure to things that provoke it. One of the biggest insighters of any anxiety is, of course, people. If you have friends or family members who cause you undue stress about the election, don’t be afraid to ask for a moratorium on certain subjects and limit your time with them if they don’t listen. This goes for other stressors as well-- books, magazines, etc. It’s one thing to have due anxiety about the election-- but anything that’s provoking unnecessary stress should be removed.

Affect what you can control.

Part of most people’s election anxiety is a feeling of helplessness. One of the best ways to help quell that is by actually going out and doing something. This begins, of course, with voting. If you’re not currently registered, take two minutes and do that here. Beyond that, there are a ton of easy ways to get involved and feel like you’re actually having an effect on the issues stressing you out. National organizations like Crooked as well as state programs organize phone banks each week leading up to the national election where you can call or text potential voters to get out the phone. Down-ballot candidates are always looking for volunteers as well-- reach out to one of your favorite local candidates and see how you can be of help.

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