The Election Year & Your Mental Health
This fall is going to be filled with political news, conversations and events. With the 2020 U.S. presidential election in less than two months, the climate of the country is increasingly divided. The unknown about the next four years of the country can cause a lot of anxiety, fear and distress. It may be a time of tension in your relationships, if people close to you have different political stances. And with the 24 hour news cycle and social media constantly going, it can easily become overwhelming. In the American Psychological Association’s most recent Stress in America survey, more than 80 percent of Americans reported that the nation’s future is a significant source of stress for them. No matter what political side you fall on, political stressors can impact your mental health.
Here are six tips for maintaining your mental health during this election year:
Check In With Yourself Regularly
Political stress may be affecting you more than you think. That’s why it’s important to check in with how you are feeling and recognize when it may be good to take a break. You may realize that you could spend your time practicing more self-care to relieve stress. Journaling, meditating or taking a walk in nature are all great ways to become more in tune with yourself and your needs.
Set Boundaries for the Conversations You Have
Conversations about politics can often get heated and put a strain on relationships. It helps to set expectations for how you want the communication of these conversations to go. Setting rules of respect will alleviate some of the frustration, so that you can discuss current issues in a calm and constructive manner. Instead of entering conversations with the purpose of trying to change someone’s mind, you can take turns hearing from each other and be open to hearing the other person’s perspective. Listening in an open and non-judgmental way definitely takes practice, but having that courtesy will make political conversations go much smoother.
Set a Limit for How Much News You Consume
It’s important to be informed about current events, but constantly scrolling through news articles and social media can also leave you feeling more overwhelmed. Set aside time each day for consumption, but also give yourself a limit. You can set a timer or some social media apps even have their own timers that you can set for them.
Make Peace With Things That Are Out of Your Control
At the end of the day, you aren’t going to be able to change everyone’s beliefs to match your own or control the outcome of a political race. Recognizing that some things are out of your control is something that we all have to make peace with.
That being said, we do have control over ourselves and our mindsets, which can be equally empowering. Instead of feeling powerless about current events, you can take action and most importantly: exercise your right to vote! You can work towards a future you want to see by voting, volunteering for a political campaign and finding meaningful ways to get involved in your community. Your voice is powerful and you can use it to advocate for what you believe in.
The voter registration deadline in Oregon is October 13, 2020 for the General Election on November 3rd. Register to vote now, if you haven’t already!
Seek Out Support
During election season, it helps to have someone who you can communicate your fears, anxieties and concerns to. To minimize stress, seek out someone who will listen to you and provide support. This could be a friend, family member or your therapist. If you are looking for a therapist to speak to, who will listen to you in a supportive, non-judgmental environment, you can request an appointment with us today.
Check out other helpful articles for managing stress:
C.A.L.M.— A Quick Stress-Release Exercise
Mindfulness for Managing Stress
Three Tips for Managing Stress