Top 5: Mental health strategies for the election

If you’ve been keeping up with this year’s presidential race, you’re probably starting to experience signs of burnout — politically and otherwise. This is a stressful time for everyone, but college students are under particular pressure. With exams, papers, extracurricular duties and an incredibly tense election looming, it’s easy to fall into a state of overwhelm. While anxiety is completely valid right now, following these verified wellness tips might help you stay calm and prevent election stress.

5. Channel your stress: With an election placing much of our future on the line, we’re likely thinking much further ahead than our minds can handle. Instead, try looking into other upcoming events, even if seemingly trivial. According to KQED and Popular Science, forming self-care, meal plan and exercise regimens can create healthy diversions from election forecasting. Plan to meditate, fuel and take a walk — just steer clear of busy polling locations.

4. Don’t neglect other tasks: Since so much is happening all around us, we might be tempted to abandon personal responsibilities. As weird as getting work done might seem in terms of self care, Healthline suggests that productivity could serve as a helpful distraction from the situation. Reply to emails, finish some chores and, if nothing else, request assignment extensions in case standing in line could interfere with schoolwork.

3. Stay informed, but regulate screen time: It’s important to remain knowledgeable on election news, but constant updates and up-to-the-minute coverage could prove to create more distress. Rather than eliminating media intake entirely, encourages a balance between engagement and self control. Consider placing time constraints on certain apps or turning off notifications so that you can stick to the relevant stuff and avoid doom-scrolling. 

2. Set limits for political discussion: At this point it seems inevitable to take part in at least some form of political discourse. Although that might worsen social anxiety around both friends and family, creating topic restraints beforehand can ease nerves. Healthline encourages open dialogue, but with a goal of greater understanding — not persuasion. So go ahead: Invite curiosity and know your boundaries. If the chat goes awry, at least you’ll have a game plan.

1. Exercise your right to vote: The lines are often draining, of course, but fulfilling our civic duty might actually be linked to happiness. According to Medical News Today, activism satisfies basic psychological needs. If you’re currently feeling powerless, heading to the polls can provide a sense of control over the uncertainties that lie ahead. Lastly, your vote is your voice when it comes to political issues. If self-expression can relieve agitation from stressors, what better way to manage election worries than voicing your vote? After all, maintaining internal empowerment while also contributing to an external cause is a great way to look out for yourself as well as your country.