Almost two-thirds of Americans say that the presidential election this year is a major source of stress, according to a study from the American Psychological Association. That’s up significantly from 2016. Confronted with both a pandemic and politics, this “infection election” is a perfect storm of mental stress.
Madison resident Melanie McKay says that this has been an anxious time.
“It’s been difficult to sleep, honestly its just sort of every night I have to calm myself down and try and think about other things, and then I wake up and check my phone to see if anything has happened.”
Anna Moffit is the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Dane County. She has some advice for people who are feeling overburdened during the election.
“Make a plan for yourself, maybe for tomorrow or for the next few days, about how you’re going to take care of yourself, because regardless of the outcomes, this has been an extremely stressful time.”
Moffit also suggested getting outside, limiting alcohol and drugs, and trying to stay connected with others.
“I think sometimes there is a tendency for people to want to isolate, especially when you are feeling a great deal of stress or anxiety or feeling depressed. And so making sure that you do have people that you can reach out to.”
In other words – community can help. So can turning off the news. McKay says a more creative endeavor helps her.
“I’ve been baking all the things so, that’s my coping mechanism, I bake everything.”
Andrew Rohm, who also voted absentee, says that getting out of the house — safely — clears the mind.
“I’m excited that the weather is unseasonably warm over the next few days here, and I just think spending some time outdoors away from the news cycle will hopefully help with that.”
Reported by Nate Carlin.