How to Stay Sane During the Election


Amid election uncertainity, many Americans’ mental health is suffering. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Although Election Day is officially behind us, we probably won’t know who won for a while. This means we’re not even sure when we’ll be able to release any pent-up stress and anxiety we might be feeling as states work hard to tally up votes. However, if you’re feeling stressed about the election, you’re not alone, and thankfully, there are a few things you can try to do to make yourself feel better.

To start, let’s think about why this election is daunting for so many of us. Simply put, it comes down to how uncertain it seems to be. Although recent polls seem to be leaning comfortably toward one side, we know from 2016 that polls can be deceiving, so many of us probably don’t have much trust in the numbers. Additionally, questions of whether all votes will actually be counted and stories of voting lines that stretched for hours around the country are at the forefront of the larger question of whether this will actually be a fair election. With two new Federal Court rulings in the last few days and many voters reporting complications with their absentee ballots, there’s plenty of uncertainty. Another factor that may be contributing to election anxiety is ever-increasing political tension. Since the 2016 election, the political climate in the United States has only intensified. Many of us have been stressed throughout the past four years and view this new election as our final chance to see change.

But no matter what you’re stressed about, you should focus on what you can do to ease some of that stress. Now that Election Day has passed, we’ve all either voted in person or sent in our ballots. If you mailed in your vote and are feeling like you just sent a piece of paper into the void, check to see if you are able to track your ballot to ensure that there were no issues. 

Still, your stress may be coming from more external aspects of the election: whether strict rules will mean that some votes are not counted or whether the current administration will fail to uphold a peaceful transfer of power should Biden win, as it has threatened to do, or simply stressing over how long it will be before we truly know. Any of these factors are sure to heighten your stress about the election, especially since these are things that we cannot control. There’s no easy answer to combat this. In fact, many of us will likely be sitting on the edge of our seats until we have a concrete answer.

Nevertheless, it’s important that we check in with our mental health and make sure we are doing what we can to relieve any anxiety we’re feeling. The simplest thing you can do is remind yourself that you have done your part: You voted. The other stressors that we mentioned are outside of our control, and as unfortunate as that may be, we have no choice but to accept them. Learning to come to peace with the fact that you’ve done everything you can is not easy, but I ask you to try anyway. Recognize that you did your duty — you made your voice heard — and now it is a matter of waiting to see what the rest of the nation has decided.

It may also help to remind yourself that no matter the outcome, it is not the end of the world. Whether your preferred candidate wins or not, you will be okay. Things may be rough — they may even be awful — but again, you have done what you could and you will get through it. Reach out to your friends and support one another as we all await the results with grave anticipation. In the meantime, do the best you can to relieve stress, and do your best to stay happy and healthy.