I’m probably like many of you in the fact that my entire life has been inundated with election cycle information. My Facebook feed is fraught with opinions on both sides of the aisle, Twitter is a potential minefield of candidate and supporter opinion, and every conversation from the line at the coffee shop to polite dinners with friends seems to center around politics. I’ve been around for a while, so I do understand that it’s common for there to be heated debate about the forthcoming election. But not like this. This is one of the most anxiety-producing elections I’ve ever seen, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
A recent article featured in The Atlantic might help. Entitled “How to Preserve Your Mental Health Despite the 2016 Election” in which multiple medical experts from the psychology field are interviewed as to how to manage anxiety and mental health during what can be (and is, for many of us) a very stressful time. For instance, the article mentions differentiating between productive and unproductive anxiety, which centers around the ability to take action around what’s causing the anxiety or finding yourself in an loop of worry where there’s really nothing you can do — or that can be done — about it. There’s much more information within the article. I’d encourage everyone to read it.
The main thing during this time is to practice extraordinary self-care. For me, that means turning off social media at regular intervals and limiting conversations about the candidates with friends and loved ones. I take action where I feel I can affect change, and then I have to let go. But I’ve realized that my mental health will continue to be important, now and long after the election, so it’s more of a priority than persuading anyone to my opinion. Hopefully, if we can all remain calm and take care of ourselves, we’ll get through this election with some hope and grace.