In a 2020 study performed by the American Psychological Association (APA), researchers found that around two-thirds of the US considered themselves stressed by the then-upcoming 2020 election. This was a staggering increase from the 2016 elections, where only around a representative half of the population admitted to being adversely affected mentally.
The number skewed more drastically when focused on African Americans and immigrants from the African diaspora. A whopping 71% of Black adults considered themselves stressed by the 2020 election, up almost 30% from 2016.
Also, a survey by the American Psychological Association found that 38% of people felt their stress levels increased during the holiday season.
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So, any stress or anxiety around the recent midterms and the upcoming holidays is not only understandable, but normal. Importantly, there are strategies and techniques that you can incorporate into your day-to-day routine while you wait on the results.
Put down the phone. Log off. Turn off the Television. The elections are pretty much over. This is a great time to go for regular walks to put some distance between you and the media frenzy. Instead, catch up on your favorite podcasts, listen to a good album and disconnect when you can. It will do you good.
Keep Good Company
Members of the Caribbean diaspora have added pain when it comes to elections. The topic of foreign policy, especially concerning immigration, looms large in the brain. On top of that, many in the diaspora want to go home for Christmas to spend time with family, but with inflation, the cost may be too high. It’s important to keep supportive company if you’re feeling isolated during this time. If this is not possible in person, try to make use of services like Zoom and Facetime.
Pay Attention To Your Body
When we’re stressed, it’s easy to overlook our basic needs. Loss of appetite and insomnia can take root and compound our stress further, creating a loop that can pose serious risks to your health – both physical and mental.
Try to eat regular meals. Keep a healthy sleep schedule (turn that phone off), and get regular exercise in. Sometimes it’s hard to push through the malaise, but it is all we can do.
We live in tumultuous times. Pandemics, ongoing wars, domestic terrorism, and political strife might just be your breaking point. Don’t underestimate it, and don’t belittle it. There’s no shame in seeking professional help who can help you cement a plan or routine to get you back on track.