Stress and anxiety know no political affiliation; they can strike regardless. After the 2016 election here in the United States, we’ve entered a new era of politics, information sharing, and tension. With constant swiping, hypervigilence when it comes to the barrage of news stories, and an rise in anger and hostility across our country, we’ve developed a new mental health condition where many of us dread opening our devices or turning on the tv: post-election stress disorder.
PBS just published an article on the loosely-termed condition that has individuals seeking therapy appointments in droves across the country. According to the article:
“Fifty-seven percent of Americans report that the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, and 40 percent say the same about the outcome of the election, according to an online survey of 1,019 adults conducted by the American Psychological Association after the inauguration. Between August 2016 and January 2017, the overall average stress level increased significantly for the first time since the Stress in America survey began 10 years ago.”
The article also cites that it’s not solely the plight of Democrats; the article cites a quarter of Republicans claim the outcome of the election is a significant sign of stress.
Regardless of how you voted, extreme stress and anxiety are nothing to play with. Left untreated, they can erode your mental health and turn your life upside-down. Call it what you will, but when events create unrelenting tension with no relief in sight, self-care should be top of mind. Step away from the constant stream of news. Make an appointment with a certified medical professional. Remember to eat, exercise, and get some fresh air. Spend time with friends and loved ones.
Stay in today, and remember that tomorrow is going to come regardless of what the news says. The thing we can control is how we react to it, and if you need to care for yourself, that should take priority. Show yourself the grace and caring to prioritize your mental health; you are the most important thing right now.