Top 5: Strategies for maintaining mental health after the election

When it comes to an election, the wait can seem brutal — the outcome, sometimes even more so. Although pre-election worries might have induced serious stress, it’s possible that those feelings won’t end after the results roll in. As political concerns continue in conjunction with school and social anxieties, it’s crucial to maintain wellness habits well past this week. 

5. Remember compassion: No matter your reaction, understand that those around you might be struggling. Dr. Francoise Adan suggests employing a sense of unity rather than discord, not only to restore external order, but also to protect internal peace. Rather than focusing on your own frustration or solace, try to funnel that energy into caring for others.  

4. Preserve conversational boundaries: Discussion can become even more combative following an intense election process, so keep your limits in mind during these interactions. Avoid trying to convince friends or classmates and politely remove yourself if you sense arguments are going too far. Family talk might also be a matter of concern with the holidays approaching, but you can prepare for this worry with other topics and transitions ready. If there seems to be no escape from an uncomfortable subject, perhaps shift the conversation toward a more productive conclusion.  

3. Monitor internet consumption, but still stay connected: While news networks will likely be distributing ongoing updates, make sure you don’t spend all your time connected to your news feed. Instead, make an effort to engage with personal support systems that can better help you cope. If logging off this week is difficult for you, SELF suggests at least balancing your media usage with mask-to-mask or over-the-phone interaction. And, if you can’t possibly part ways with your media outlets, try to add some positive news into the mix as well.   

2. Maintain and adjust self-care habits: Self-care shouldn’t stop after election night. Instead, look to stay conscious of your triggers and respond accordingly. If the stir of mass public discourse feels overstimulating or you notice signs of panic, don’t simply power through. One helpful way to fight against these symptoms could be a mental exercise, such as the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Other options? Take breaks, deep breaths and maybe a nap. 

1. Reflect and seek help if needed: In our current situation, it is so vital to recognize the variety of stressors weighing on you. An election can certainly be upsetting, but this year is different than others. A time of constant transition and health risk, now mixed with seasonal anxiety and a contentious presidential race, can create quite the range of emotions. Know that there will be some off days and that they might be more frequent in the coming weeks. Write down your thoughts and remember that someday you can look back and say “I made it.” Take some time to independently reflect, but realize that you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local mental health resources: