How to manage stress from election fatigue

Managing stress from election fatigue

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - These days it seems politics have infused every facet of our society, including our personal lives, and a lot of that stress and anxiety may be triggered by family and friends.

“I’m terrible at handling my election fatigue... I feel like I’ve spent the last few days on autopilot,” said Chesterfield resident, Lauren Barry.

Barry says the election fatigue she experiences oftentimes stems from family members who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, which can be hard to put aside.

“Politics are part of the conversation, it is in the front and these are really big things that are happening,” said Barry.

But owner and operator of private behavioral health practice 1st Choice Counseling, Behonda Lewis-Cuff, says Lauren isn’t the only one feeling election fatigue and that she’s been seeing an uptick in the amount of patience reporting election-related stress.

“I am indeed seeing a lot of family stress because of the election and that’s a toughy because we are entitled to our own views and opinions,” said Lewis-Cuff. “Everything is just this domino effect because you have the election and COVID and racial tension, so it’s like it’s just nonstop.”

But Lewis-Cuff says it is possible to destress and find peace with the ones who may be causing our stress, and it begins putting politics in the back seat.

“Sometimes we just have to establish both rules and boundaries within our household, especially when we come from different political parties. We just have to set the rules and say, ‘you know what, we’re not going to talk about politics' because that is just a sore spot for many,” said Lewis-Cuff. “We just need to make sure that when we do come together - be it the holidays or that - we come with peace in mind.”

Lewis-Cuff says turning off technology and escaping to the outdoors can also help, which Lauren says is helping in her life now.

"It must have been some sort of divine gift that the past two days have been really beautiful outside, and it’s encouraged me to get out with my kids,“ said Barry. "I went for a run, I took the dog for a run, and I actually put some laundry away and took a shower. I feel like today I was able to get through some of the fog that yesterday I was experiencing,”

Regardless of the outcome, Lewis-Cuff says we have to learn to be sympathetic and empathic to those closest to us.

“It’s inevitable that there’s going to be someone who wins and there’s going to be someone who loses, but we have to be mindful about this election may affect people’s mental health and their mental stability,” said Lewis-Cuff.

“We can’t just give up just because we potentially lose and I hope that anybody on the other side that’s disappointed will feel the other way that they will want to make our country good for everybody,” said Barry.

Lewis-Cuff says we need to be wary of self-medicating, especially when it involves drugs or alcohol, and to consider seeking professional help if the stress becomes overbearing.

1st Choice Counseling is located off 406 West Franklin Street in Richmond. For more information click, HERE.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.