Managing Mental Health During The Election
By: Chloe G. Harper, Clinical Intern at JCAC
The most stressful season of the year, other than tax season is back; election season. From the heated debates, fights with loved ones, and the obnoxious placement of candidate signs; how can we keep our sanity? The election brings out the ugly in everyone, and sometimes we need a moment to just turn off and getaway.
How is that possible? How can we getaway? The election is in our face, it is on our tv, it is in our homes, front yards, and social media. For some, the election is just a reminder of the sad reality that change seems impossible; even far away at most. The election has torn families apart, and even our country. As individuals, faced with other life stressors such as work, school, and many more responsibilities; what spare energy can we dedicate to protecting ourselves?
With this blog entry, I hope to accomplish a small feet in helping others find ways to protect their mental health during this election season.
Tip # 1 Managing the consumption of social media use
The hardest tip is managing social media use. During election season social media is filled with different types of propaganda and comments from friends and family. Setting a boundary for yourself of how much social media you intake can help to relieve some anxieties and stress of the election. Social media is a great tool to connect with friends, share stories, and adventure to places you have never been before; but it also an avenue for endless negative information that can upset some during the election.
Tip # 2: Set Boundaries With Friends
Setting boundaries with friends is a VERY important tip. When it comes to sharing information about the election and political views, set a firm boundary with friends that you do not have the emotional space to talk about it. Make it a ritual with your friends to ask if they have the emotional space to have conversations about *insert your topic here*.
Tip # 3: Read Don't Watch TV!
There has been some research published in the Journal of American College Health, that showed the 2016 election had caused PTSD like symptoms for college students. The lead in the study was the assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, Melissa Hagan, Ph.D., MPH. She and her team used data from 769 students that took an Impact of Event Scale(i.e. a scale to measure the impact an event has on a person and measuring PTSD like symptoms). The results showed that 25% of the students in the study showed "clinically significant" levels of distress, students of color had higher scores, female students had higher scores than male students, and democrats scored higher following the election. There have also been studies that have shown some comparisons with the tone of certain news channels and the effect of stress it causes on the listener.
The main take away from this is to monitor what you watch and the tone that is taken. Not every political ad or news channel debate needs to be watched, pick, and choose what you allow yourself to absorb.
If it feels like too much, if you feel the weight of your stress in your relationships, while you are trying to sleep, or it is impacting your work... You are not alone! We are here to help walk with you during this time.
Click here to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists when it feels like it is too much
Click here to watch a video about managing stress
Click Here to Watch a video on depression
Johns Creek and Alpharetta Counseling (#JCAC) is a warm and family orientated counseling practice in Alpharetta, Ga. We offer online counseling services in the states of Georgia and Florida. We offer in-office counseling service at our Alpharetta office which is conveniently located to serve Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell, and Cumming, Ga.
The JCAC Counselors specialize in counseling services throughout the lifespan! We offer play therapy, counseling for children, parental support, adolescent counseling, mental health services, couples counseling, premarital therapy, and individual counseling for adults.
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