Now That Election Day is Over, For Some Post Election Stress
Some people really get involved in the whole political process. No doubt, with 24/7 cable news, social media posts, and spirited political discussions, more and more people are getting very passionate about causes and candidates.
On one hand, getting involved is a good and healthy thing, especially in a democracy. On the other hand, for people like this, it can be very difficult when their favorite candidates or causes lose.
In a study by the American Psychiatric Association, more than half of American adults say they feel that elections are "somewhat" or "very significant" sources of stress. As a result, post-election stress disorders are now common. According to Dr. Robert Bright, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist, while Election Stress disorder isn't a scientific diagnosis, the concept is real.
It can cause tension in our shoulders. Some people experience gastrointestinal upset or headaches. There are sleep disturbances that can occur. Often this manifests as tossing and turning and laying awake worrying. Nightmares can even occur.
The biggest cause of election stress is the feeling of being out of control. It's no wonder that many of us suffer post-election anxiety, after all the horrible political commercials we have to endure that tell us what horrible nightmarish things will happen if we vote for this or that candidate.
While it is normal to feel some anxiety if your candidates or causes lose, if it leads to clinical depression, sadness, and tearfulness and begins to impair or negatively affect your life, you might need to seek help. Symptoms might include:
- Intense worry that affects home, school, or work life
- Feeling keyed up
- Feeling more tired and fatigued
- Trouble with concentration
- Sleep problems
- panic attacks.
Some people experience symptoms that peak before the election. Others may be going through post-election stress. If you are experiencing post-election stress, don't hesitate to reach out to friends or social contacts. For some, you may have to seek out professional help.
Here are some things that might help.
1) Limit News Exposure
2) Find ways to contribute positively, like volunteering for a local organization or working to beautify the community.
3) Focus on the important personal relationships in your life.
4) Search for hope.
5) Focus on your physical health.
6) Limit negative coping skills like drinking.
7) Completely unplug for a while. Visit a park or other positive outdoor space.
If you need help, reach out for it. If you see someone else suffering, offer them help. Try to keep things in perspective and ask yourself one important question, will the results of this or any election really impact you that much personally?
After all, there's always another election right around the corner.