Elections aren’t just stressful for the candidates—they can leave voters feeling anxious, angry or even hopeless. The 2016 election in particular has proven to be controversial and contentious, compounded by the sometimes-overwhelming news cycle, which beings at least 18 months prior.
Political beliefs are largely shaped by our upbringing. Most people share the political views of their parents. These core values make up a large portion of our individual personalities. When friends challenge our political beliefs, it’s difficult not to feel attacked. Emotionally charged interactions can easily be triggered when discussing politics with those whose political views differ. Even encountering a post on social media can prompt anxiety.
Maintain your sanity this election season with these five tips:
1. Limit exposure to election news. Psychologists recommend getting your election news from a credible newspaper, rather than online media or TV, which are sometimes sensationalized.
2. Temporarily unfollow friends who post election news or opinions. At least through the election cycle.
3. Avoid heated political discussions. Let friends, family and co-workers know you’d rather not participate.
4. Do things you enjoy. Presidential elections can be emotionally exhausting. The more engaged you are, the more likely you’ll feel fatigued, anxious or depressed. Give your brain and body time to relax and recharge.
5. Accept that some things are beyond your control. Consider ways to prepare emotionally, should the next president be one you didn’t support.