I usually feel like a lone wolf with my anxiety issues. But apparently I wasn’t the only one who had massive election anxiety.
In fact, many of us had– and have –election anxiety.
Back in October, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued a press release saying that more than half of us had pre-election stress.
And it didn’t stop there.
Facebook is now blowing up with posts about something I’ve rarely seen: post election fears. And these are evident amongst Trump and Clinton supporters alike.
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that this post is NOT about who you voted for.
That’s your choice; as it was mine. Democracy is what America is all about.
It is, however, about dealing with fear. As fellow anxiety sufferers, we fear change. It’s in our nature.
And sometimes, the fear of change can center around elections.
This isn’t a new thing. Quite frankly, I was nervous when both Bush and Obama took office. Terrified.
It didn’t matter what my choice was, newsness terrifies me.
Right now, I feel the same way. This is normal in my life.
“Uncertainty almost always increases anxiety, so it’s totally normal to feel anxious after an election,” Dr. Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a Manhattan-based psychologist, tells Cosmopolitan. “Even if you’re pleased with the chosen candidate, you still don’t know exactly what life will be like with the changes ahead.”
So just how do you deal post election anxiety?
According to the Boston Globe, dealing with political change begins with looking out for number one: YOU. After all, you owe it to yourself to be healthy.
Accept how you feel and take steps to keep fear at bay.
“Utilize those coping resources that have helped you through difficult times in the past,” Dawn Cisewski, president of the Massachusetts Psychological Association, tells the Boston Globe.
In addition, be cautious when it comes to reading social media posts.
I’ve noticed a lot of people completely freaking out about “doomsday.” But does doomsday ever really happen?
It’s OK to take a break from the constant chatter of political fears. Social media posts can be huge triggers for those of us who struggle with anxiety in general.
“If it makes you upset or impacts you in an unproductive way, set boundaries on how much time you spend on it,” Dr. Jennifer Caudle, DO, family physician, assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine tells Cosmo.
If a negative post makes you feel anxious, walk away. There’s no shame in monitoring your media. I know I sure am.
Finally, open up about how you’re feeling.
Talk to a neutral friend (as in not the friend who is a political junkie). Schedule an appointment with a therapist. Or journal about your concerns.
But don’t bottle your post election fears up.
At the end of the day, it’s normal to feel fear before or after an election.
Change is scary. However, you do have the power to keep political fears in check.