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8 Ways to Cope With 'Election Depression'

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Are you or is someone you know struggling with “Election Depression“?

This election is historic and quite possibly unlike any other many Americans have witnessed.

No matter what happens, we will be electing a new commander in chief this week. For many, this election season may have presented itself with stressful and obsessive episodes of feelings and actions not easily explainable. Particularly for those who already struggle with anxiety and depression, the heightened media forays and triggering candidate remarks may have brought on a resurgence in symptoms.

As someone with depression, including subsequent anxiety, this election cycle has tensed me, and I have found myself on the receiving end of hyper-fluctuations in mood. Once flushed from the media’s intensive reporting, I found myself drowning in sorrow and ambivalence towards the future. And yes, I want to be a witness to history being made; however, as an ongoing survivor of depression and anxiety, I’ve found there are ways to witness while still maintaining mental wellness.

8 Ways to Cope With “Election Depression”

1. You are allowed to walk away from all forms of media. The shouting matches and voter returns play-by-plays may be too much for you to handle. If so, give yourself permission to unplug.

2. You are allowed to vote for who you believe is the best choice. This has been and is a right of every American.

3. You are allowed to sit in quiet and not discuss your personal viewpoint. Everything that comes up doesn’t have to come out.

4. You are allowed to maintain your sanity in any way you see fit. Walk away from the pundits, naysayers, and opinionated opiners.

5. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel, whenever you feel it. Feelings are not wrong; they are emotions to be honored.

6. You are allowed to plan for the rest of the week. The day after the election will come. Plan what you will do then and so on.

7. You are allowed to take care of your whole self in any way that may safely be imagined. Continual care-taking for the mind, body, spirit and will are ways to wellness.

8. You are allowed to practice recovery rituals. Soliciting support and practicing principles of love and acceptance is key.

There will be a loser and a winner. Oftentimes, we can’t necessarily do anything about the impact of the results. The role we play in the bigger scheme can be instituting our personal rights and taking care of ourselves unashamedly. Voting and equipping one’s self with information and knowledge regarding key issues may be the most helpful way all Americans can participate in the democratic process without experiencing dangerous extremes in mental wellness.

So, what are you doing on Election Day to avoid or minimize the expected extra drama?

I plan to write with some friends who have supported me through tough times in the past. You don’t have to write, but I do suggest having a self-care ritual in place. Also, be prepared for after-election fatigue. Having a plan in place for the feelings that may come up post-election can be very important and may curtail further doldrums as we go into the holiday and winter seasons.

Suffice it to say many of us will be glad to see an end to this election cycle, or at least decision 2016 — not necessarily knowing what is to come from it all, but knowing we will survive as we always have, and that is the hope we bring to this great country we are so proud to live in.

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: November 8, 2016
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