Managing Election Related Stress

A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that more than two thirds of all Americans report that the current election is a “very or somewhat significant source of stress” in their lives (APA, 10/7/2020).  Here are some things you can do to cope.
  • Stay in the present moment - Don’t put energy into predicting negative outcomes.  Try a mindfulness meditation, which brings us into the present moment, and helps us focus less on fear about the future.  Check out our Self-Help Videos, which include practices like Square Breath, Deep Breathing, and Grounding.
  • Anticipate that results may not be available immediately.  Make a plan to balance your time, stay occupied, and take care of yourself while waiting to hear the outcome.
  • Limit your news intake -  Don’t worry about following every news alert - when there are big political developments, you will hear them.  Develop a containing routine that works for you, such as limiting checking the headlines to a few times throughout the day, muting commercials, etc.  Be especially careful about taking in news right before bed, which may disrupt your sleep.  
  • Follow reputable news sources.  Use resources such as Factcheck.org or this How to Spot FakeNews Infographic to evaluate whether sources are reliable.  Do not put energy toward reports that are not confirmed by multiple, reputable sources.
  • Be mindful of social media use - Engaging with strong opinions online can be overwhelming.  Pay attention to how your social media intake is affecting your mood.  Seek out accounts that make you feel positive and connected, and avoid those that make you angry or depressed.  For more information, check out our video on doing a Social Media Cleanse.
  • Balance your schedule - Keep yourself engaged in a variety of activities.  Spend time with friends and family talking about things other than politics, get outdoors, exercise, and make time for hobbies.
  • Stay active and engaged - We all feel better when we are putting energy toward things that we can control.  Find ways to be politically active and engaged in the issues that you care about.
  • Seek support - Connect with others who understand how you feel.  It will also help them to feel less alone.  Consider trying a Counseling Group to connect with other students.  Our Surviving 2020 group is a great place to start.
  • Express yourself - let your feelings out through journaling, art, music, dance, or talking - whatever works for you.
  • Make time for regular self-care - Start with the basics - getting enough sleep, eating regularly, staying hydrated, getting exercise.  Also consider fun, relaxing, or energizing activities that usually work well for you.  If those are not soothing you as usual, get creative and try some new things.  Sometimes when our stress changes, our coping strategies need to evolve as well.  Consider our list of Pleasant Activities while Physically Distancing, or visit our Self-Care Moment workshop.

For additional resources related to the 2020 election, please visit:

  • The University’s Election 2020 webpage - includes information on voting, informing yourself about the issues, and post-election events.  
  • The Office of Diversity’s Election Hub - provides election information through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, including election-related events, informational webinars, and resources.