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Prioritizing Mental Health and Strategies to Cope with Stress

By: Blake Taylor

After a tumultuous year, the stress levels of many Americans are skyrocketing. This was especially evidenced in the days leading up to what would be a historic presidential election. There is not only heated controversy and differing opinions regarding the candidates but additional stress when factoring in how each candidate will handle the chaos of 2020, including the Covid19, the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change, etc. While it may be uncomfortable, feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and scared is completely normal and inevitable during these hectic times. Despite your personal political views, anxiety, and anticipation for the results of a much-anticipated election are a commonality for all. It is essential to prioritize mental and emotional well-being now that the polls are closed, and the wait for the finalized results continues. Here are some strategies to cope with stress and anxiety during this time.

  1. Reach out to your loved ones: Feelings of stress and anxiety often cause feelings of loneliness and behaviors of isolation. During this time, it’s important to communicate with your loved ones about how you feel. Having the emotional support of others is important and can help relieve some stress.
  2. Turn off the news: Whether you are getting your election updates through social media, news channels, or news websites, it is important to remember that some sources can be biased, inaccurate, or not up to date. Constantly monitoring the news can cause an obsession with the numbers and every new piece of information announced. It’s crucial to sit back and try not to get caught up in all of the chaos and allow yourself to destress.
  3. Patience: This election, like this entire year, is not normal, as many mail-in ballots were sent in due to Covid precautions. This means counting ballots will take much more time than usual. We will not have answers as fast. Patience is essential. There will be answers, but not as instantaneously as in past years so try to remain calm and patient.
  4. Self-care: This will be essential to get your mind off of the stress of the election. Whether it’s meditating, watching your favorite TV show, baking, making tik-toks, etc., anything to keep your mind occupied and calm will help cope with the stress. Self-care keeps your mental and emotional health intact.
  5. Avoid stressful discussions: If you think conservations with someone who might have different views may be triggering or stress-inducing, avoid them. It is okay to keep your opinions to yourself if you think it may lead to conflict. Remain respectful of others and keep to yourself if you think that is best. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

It is a stressful time in our nation’s history for a multitude of reasons, but it is important to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.

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