Coping with Election Anxiety

By: Taylor Andres and Ashley Trentrock

Americans all over the country are feeling stress and anxiety related to the 2020 Presidential election, and social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can make matters worse.

It’s difficult to avoid the constant buzz of political ads, news and social media posts, but doing so might be the best way to find some relief.

“It’s great to be politically minded and engaged, and everyone should exercise their right to vote. But it’s unhealthy to spend an entire day glued to the news,” said Dr. Jon Weingarden, psychologist and senior program director at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. “It’s important to be mindful of the content you are consuming and to try and stay away from doomscrolling.”

Weingarden suggests connecting with other people virtually, getting back to normal routines such as cooking dinner, going for walks or spending time outdoors, and limiting time on social media leading up to the election results.

“While most people on both sides of the political spectrum feel this is an important election, try to avoid catastrophizing or assuming the worst-case scenario,” said Weingarden. “Instead, try to remain mindful that your voice was heard in a democratic process, and we will have the opportunity to vote again in four years.”

Additional information on coping strategies can be found through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the resolve Crisis Services for Allegheny County residents.