As if the year 2020 couldn’t get any more stressful, the upcoming election has been the cherry on top of an unprecedented, unforgiving year that seems like it will never end. If you watch the news, have a social media account or even talk to your friends, neighbors or coworkers, chances are high that you’ve heard your fair share of opinions on voting matters. But what people don’t understand is the impact an election year has on our mental health.
Although politics is typically a taboo topic to bring up in the workplace or family gatherings, it seems like more and more people are openly discussing this controversial topic. And because of this, it may be impacting our work performance or making your family get-togethers a little more awkward. With less than a month away from a national election, do you feel the stress setting in?
Don’t worry – you’re not the only one. As millions gear up to vote, or have already voted, the stress has started to set in.
Although America has seen its fair share of intense elections in the past, many would say that this one has taken the cake. With racial unrest, a global pandemic and a struggling economy, a lot rests on this election’s outcome. In fact, according to a professional counseling service, more than half of adults in the United States feel that elections are “somewhat” or “very significant” sources of stress. However, this election has been more dividing than usual between the two most popular parties, which has created a social unrest among people.
Extremism from both sides of political parties, according to researchers, are making voters or people who would lean towards the middle a little concerned about how others will react after the election is over. Will people be able to have peaceful protests without violence interfering? When you have these extremists, although they may be few, they certainly pose a threat to keeping the peace.
Not only is the chance of violent outbreaks stressful, but also many worry about how a new leader, or the same one, will affect the next four years of the economy, the justice system or dealing with a global pandemic.
Much of the unknown puts fear, anxiety and nervousness into our minds, which creates unwanted, unnecessary stress. And while stress can affect you mentally, it can also affect you physically especially when left untreated. Mentally, stress can cause people to feel overwhelmed, confused, sad or irritable, and may even cause people to self isolate or withdraw socially.
When you start to feel the symptoms of stress but decide not to do anything about it, or let it go untreated, it can cause physical health problems such as tension headaches, stomach aches, insomnia and elevated blood pressure.
With so much riding on this election, it’s easy to feel pressure and start to feel overwhelmed. But the key is: How are you coping with it?
When you work in the medical field, although indicators of a victim of human trafficking may vary, there are certain things you can look out for. And, it’s Fortunately, the election will be over by November and life will resume as normal, right? Possibly. Who knows for sure? And this uncertainty provokes fear, which brings along its friend named stress.
A main driver of provoking the political game is the media. We watch or listen to the news and even scroll through our social media news feeds to find out the latest and sometimes not so greatest news. However, we keep up with the news to stay informed and make decisions when it comes to voting time.
Sometimes, however, it’s good to take a break and catch some fresh air. There are also ways of coping with a 24-hour news cycle. Here’s how:
So, while you may be tempted to bring up the latest political debate, keep in mind that not everyone you encounter has the same opinions as you or even wants to talk about the subject. While at work, you might find it better to discuss football game scores or the question that stumped all the contestants on Jeopardy! Sometimes, discussing politics, especially during a time like now, can lead to unwanted and awkward conversations.
It may also make people more nervous or anxious to do their jobs. So, while this election may feel like it’s life or death, it’s important to remember that the world will keep spinning no matter who wins the election. And maybe you’ll sleep better at night knowing that fact.