By: Karen Thompson, LMSW, CEAP, CAADC, SAP, EAC Clinical Specialist –
Relentless TV ads, social media posts, and election yard signs popping up on neighbor’s lawns are all reminding us that it is election season. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 52% of adults identified the last presidential election in 2016 as a significant stressor.
The political campaign season tends to highlight the polarization among voters in the US. While it is not a formal psychological diagnosis, therapists have coined the term “Election Stress Disorder” to describe the negative impacts of a divisive election season on the human psyche. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and a divisive election season, will undoubtedly, make this year especially challenging.
Here are 7 tips for navigating the 2020 election season:
- Set Boundaries. It is important not to get too consumed by the political news cycle. Read just enough to stay informed but maintain balance.
- Take a Break from Social Media. Allow yourself time to disconnect.
- Avoid Catastrophic Thinking related to the outcome of the election
- Limit your Consumption of TV news.
- Avoid Politically Charged Conversations at Work or with Family. Agree to disagree.
- Turn your Attention Elsewhere. Spend time doing things you enjoy such as hobbies, cooking, or spending time outdoors.
- Exercise Good Self-Care. Do things that promote calmness and lessen stress such as daily meditations, listening to music, or reading a good book.
If the stress of this season feels overwhelming at times, contact EAC to speak with a professional counselor for support with managing stress and navigating this challenging time.