Coping with post-election stress disorder
DENVER — It doesn’t matter who you voted for or whether your candidate won or lost on election night. Odds are you’re stressed out by this year’s election.
The American Psychological Association is unofficially calling what you might be feeling post-election stress disorder.
It’s not something you can diagnose, but psychologists in Colorado said the symptoms are very real.
“It’s really been interfering with a lot of people’s normal functioning,” said Dr. Liz Chamberlain, a psychologist with the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
A study conducted by the APA found the 2016 election was “a very or somewhat significant source of stress” for 52 percent of American adults.
“Most of us have pretty much deleted anyone that doesn’t agree with us,” a frustrated Coloradan said.
“We do have some family members that want to move to Canada,” another added.
Adding to the stress for many is the fact Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
“Oh, boy is that going to be fun,” one sarcastic Coloradan said.
Chamberlain has a few tips for those family get-togethers over the holidays.
First, make a rule with your family and friends not to talk politics, at least this year. Also, approach any political conversations this year like you would a science experiment, as strange as it might sound.
“Observe like a scientist. Listen closely to them and hear what they have to say without your own judgement or emotions and you might be surprised,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain also recommends limiting how much political news coverage you watch a day and suggests checking social media accounts only once or twice each day.
The American Psychological Association also recommends coping tips.
- If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption.
- Read just enough to stay informed.
- Turn off the news feed or take a digital break.
- Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.
- Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict.
- Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members or co-workers.