By Krista Nadeau
For Americans, the year 2020 will be one for the history books—and that’s an understatement. The grand finale, adding anxiety to an already unsettling and difficult year, is the looming presidential election.
In a little more than a month, for those who have not voted by other means, we will head to the polls and cast our vote to either re-elect Donald Trump or shift gears and choose Joe Biden as president of the United States.
Political ideologies between parties differ more now than any time in recent memory and the tension is palpable. Collectively, we know that a lot is at stake with this upcoming election. Everybody believes their side is the right one and the other side is wrong.
Perhaps, more importantly are the questions we should ask ourselves as we make our decision on who would be better fit to lead the United States. People, young and old, have opinions on what makes someone suitable to hold the highest office in the land. What are yours?
Are you looking for the person who will be the voice for all Americans—who will lead with integrity? What type of leader do you want? Is the climate important? What type of relationship should the United States have with other countries? Is the US heading in the right direction or do we need an about face? How about the economy? Healthcare? Women’s Rights? Equality?
People of all demographics have their answers to many of these questions—even kids not quite old enough to vote are watching, learning, and planning for the time when they can get out and cast their votes. Additionally, NBC reports that more than 71 percent of college-aged Americans plan to vote this year, just one of many indications that people are very engaged in this election.
The downside, as reported by Good Housekeeping magazine, is that “56 percent of US adults identify the 2020 presidential election as a significant stressor.” The same report states “that number is up from 52 percent who reported the same in weeks preceding the 2016 election.”
Couple election jitters with the onslaught of COVID repercussions and it’s no wonder we are stressed. Many are unemployed but hoping to return to work, the economy is unstable, for some jobs have been lost as well as insurance; all this can mean more time spent online watching daily pandemic updates and social media bombarding us with information, both truth and fiction.
Politics has long been controversial but recently it has become downright vicious. Professionals are suggesting ways to beat the election stressors. Consider the following:
Take a break from the news no matter how you receive it or at least commit to a time limit on it. This will do wonders for your mental health.
When engaging in conversations with people online or in person choose wisely- choose to talk with people who can have a respectful conversation and if you find yourself in a position where someone can’t, don’t talk about heated topics at all.
Get outside or focus on something that helps you relax and destress- a walk in the woods, deep breathing, or any other kind of exercise will do the trick.
Instead of spending your energy on all things that contribute to stress, focus on how you can get active in making change—volunteer or get involved in your community at some level.
And on November 3, make sure to get out and make your voice heard!