Coping with Election Stress

by HAWP staff

National and local elections have significant outcomes that impact our lives, and the lives of people we care about. Even international students can be impacted by the outcome of an election. Here are some tips for managing stress before and after the U.S. Presidential election.

  1. Try to keep up your daily wellness habits. If you have a routine for physical activity, keep it up! Stick to your normal sleep routine. Maintaining your existing healthy habits will help sustain you through stressful times.
  2. Make a plan to vote. Uncertainty is tough, and there are a lot of things you cannot control. However, you can do your research on voting methods, deadlines, hours, and locations, and solidify your plan to vote.
  3. Make a plan for election night. Will you plan to watch the election coverage live? How late will you stay up? Who would be a helpful person with whom to share this experience? Keep in mind that the election result may be uncertain for a period of time after election night.
  4. Take action close to home. Focus on doing something concrete in your own community. You could volunteer or fund raise for a candidate you support, or for a local nonprofit that aligns with your values. Brandeis' Department of Community Service (@deis_dcs) can help you find opportunities.
  5. Be intentional about your news and media consumption. Take breaks for a few hours (or as much as you can) each day and give yourself time to rest and focus on other things. Limit your news sources to a few that you trust. Try not to get lost in scrolling - too much news can be counter-productive!
  6. Take care of your body in the present moment. Turn your attention towards your physical well-being. What does your body need? Rest? Movement? A hot shower? A warm meal? A good stretch? A few deep breaths? Avoid using drugs or alcohol as a coping strategy.
  7. Gather your support squad. Who can you talk to about the election who understands and respects your point of view? While engaging across difference is important, it's also important to connect with like-minded allies who can create a safe space to share your feelings.
  8. Ask for help. You can always get support, especially if election-related stress creates symptoms of anxiety or depression that last for more than two weeks and begin to negatively affect your work, school, or relationships. Call the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) at 781-736-3730 to get connected to a therapist near you.