Posted October 28, 2020

How to de-stress during election season

The Tuttleman Counseling Center shares advice for coping with election anxiety.

Woman juggling priorities before a computer
Illustration by Robert Frawley

With Nov. 3 fast approaching, it seems like at every turn someone is talking about, reporting on or posting a reference to the 2020 presidential election. 

And that’s putting many of us on edge. 

According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, a majority of Americans—almost 70%—consider the upcoming election to be a significant source of stress in their lives.

The folks at Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Center (TCS) have put together a list of tips and tricks for remaining calm and centered as we approach Election Day and its results unfold.

Here’s what they recommend.

It’s important to stay informed, but it’s equally important to know your limits. Monitor how you feel after consuming news. If you’re feeling preoccupied or upset by national events and discussions, it could be a sign you need to cut back on your information intake and limit your social media scrolling.

Reflect on your inner thoughts and feelings during these uncertain times, and give yourself permission to feel the way you do. Although taking breaks can be useful, completely ignoring strong emotions can have a negative impact. 

Focus on restoring yourself with rest, physical activity, recreation and healthy food. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep. Try to move a little every day. Treat yourself by listening to music or watching a funny video. And drink plenty of water—it’s important to stay hydrated.

Meaningful interaction with others can decrease loneliness, depression, and anxiety and allow us to experience solidarity and a sense of belonging. Reach out to supportive friends and allies during this time, but recognize that not everyone will share your perspective. It’s OK to draw boundaries around the topics you discuss to avoid heated conversations.
Channel your energy into positive actions. Activism, service and generosity are a few ways to promote a sense of empowerment when we may be feeling helpless. Look for ways to engage with your community that align with your values. 

For more detailed information, check out the complete TCS Coping with Election Stress Kit.