Are you feeling stress from the current election cycle? A new survey shows that you are not alone. 

“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican,” according to Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., for the American Psychological Association. “Across party lines, those registered as Democrats and Republicans are statistically equally likely to say the election is a significant source of stress.” 

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we’re all exhausted by the constant news updates. It feels impossible to keep up. But we do our best. We still show up, listen, learn, check facts, and then make informed decisions about our country’s current and future direction.

 Along with the news, there is something else that we need to focus on during this election season – our emotional health. We can’t forget about our need for rest, healing, and peace.

Here are a few suggestions to protect our emotional health during this time of stress, fear, and anxiety. These are practices we can embrace to help keep us calm and emotionally healthy during the election season.


Leading Up to the Election

Create A Daily News Routine

With political updates on social media and 24-hour news coverage, it’s important to plan our content consumption. 

Instead of watching or listening to coverage throughout your day, set aside a time block for catching up. Your “catch up” time could be in the morning at the start of your day or in the evening when you wind down, whatever works best for your schedule. 

Once you know the time you’re watching the news, you need to pick your sources. Select your news sources instead of bouncing around on the TV or scrolling through Twitter mindlessly. Find a few outlets you trust, and balance them with a couple of sources that offer alternating opinions. After you’ve caught up, turn it off. 


Have An Emotional First Aid Plan For Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations during elections are inevitable. The most important thing is that we take care of ourselves afterward. We recommend using a breathing app after engaging in conversations. Other resources include an emotional first aid coaching call or getting outside for a walk and fresh air. 

Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your emotions or shame yourself for getting worked up. Rather than suppressing your feelings, nurture them. Breathe. Drink a glass of water. Allow yourself to rest.

When having these conversations, know your points, and practice active listening. If the conversation starts to feel combative, consider taking a break to regain composure. Healthy dialogue can definitely be passionate, but divisive arguments don’t inspire progress and change. 


Set Boundaries With Social Media

Brace yourself, social media may become a dumpster fire of emotions, opinions, and fake news as the election gets closer.

Just like the need to create a daily news routine, we need some boundaries for social media during this season. You could delete the apps from your phone, or only designate specific times to check them. While social media can connect us virtually, our time may be better spent investing in real-life conversations.


On Election Day

Start Election Day With Self-care

Election Day can feel overwhelming and stressful, so it’s even more important to put a self-care plan in place. On the day of the election, start with slowness, gratitude, and peace. Your morning could begin with journaling, a short meditation, or a morning walk. 


Set Boundaries With Family & Friends

Create boundaries for what you will do, how you will talk, and what you need for your emotional health today. Having these boundaries means creating space to celebrate, mourn, and process feelings as needed. 

There are many opportunities to dialogue with those who hold differing views before November 3. But on election day, it’s best to channel your beliefs and ideas into your vote and your emotional self-care. 


Allow Yourself To Feel Your Emotions

And finally, the election results are in. There are many politicians on the ballot, so we can expect to feel many emotions, from joy to grief to exhaustion. 

All of these feelings are natural and to be expected, and most of all, valid. Accept the feelings you have, and let yourself truly feel them. Let the processing emotions physically manifest and move through our bodies: tears, exercise, creative projects, and fresh air can all help with this. 


After the Election

Give Yourself Room To Process

After the election, we’re all going to have a lot to process. We can’t go into the election, knowing what will happen. But we can control how we respond when the results come in. 

Carve out more space for emotional first aid and self-care. Consider taking extended breaks from the news and social media. It is okay to take a break, retreat to nature, and spend a few days processing with friends. To avoid political fatigue, we need moments to step away and breathe. 

In caring for yourself, also consider loved ones, their feelings, and how you can best support them in their processing. After the election, it’s crucial to remember that we are all experiencing waves of emotions, and the results of the election affect people differently. 


Get Back To Work 

Remind yourself that life will go on. Our political system and various government branches mean that we should expect a significant degree of stability immediately after an election.

My prayer is that we embrace emotional first-aid practices to keep us healthy, balanced, so then we can get back to work. 

The most important thing we can do after the election is to stay engaged and hold our leaders accountable. Even if your party won or the vote went the way you hoped, it’s up to us to ensure that promises are kept, and action is taken.

Election day is not the ending; it’s just the beginning.