The Side Effect of a Stressful Election


Megan Brennan, Contributor

Is the upcoming election stressing you out? You’re not alone. In July, a Pew Research Center survey found that 55% of U.S. social media users said they were ‘worn out’ by political posts and discussions. Naturally as the election draws nearer, political posts and discussions have only increased.

If one is trying to keep up with all of the latest polls, news, and predictions it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it can feel as if there is too much content to consume and not enough time to truly digest it. For instance, by my own count, the New York Times political section posted 22 articles about the election on October 29th alone. 

Anxiety about the condition of the nation post-election is also plaguing many Americans. News outlets are recommending citizens be prepared for election day and post election violence while the FBI and Justice Departments are also actively preparing for the possibility of violence. George Washington University, located just blocks from the White House, warned their students on campus to have at least a week’s worth of food and medicine before Election Day. 

To many, this election feels personal. People feel like their values and the values of the country are on the line this election season. The candidates running for president and many of the congressional candidates have starkly different views and ideas of how the country should be led. Those experiencing election fatigue can be overwhelmed by the idea that someone with drastically different ideals than their own could be running the country. Not only that, but we are living in tumultuous times with a global pandemic, racial injustice, and a number of other issues that are all too personal. These will either have to be addressed by a possible new wave of government officials or continue to be dealt with by current officials.

How can election fatigue be combatted? The best and most effective way to counteract the helpless feeling that can accompany this phenomenon is to vote! It’s also important to take time away from your screen, and realize that it’s not necessary to read every article or analyze every poll. This will be crucial on election day and the week (or possibly weeks) after where we will undoubtedly be inundated with election results and analyses. Set time aside every day to do something that will take your mind off of the election. Personally, I have been watching the popular political drama The West Wing to remind myself that things have been better in the past, though I suppose you could take the opposite approach and watch Scandal or House of Cards to remind yourself that things could be worse with these examples of the dark side of politics. Perhaps the better approach may be to consume media that has nothing to do with politics at all. 

Americans have been hearing about the 2020 election for what seems like ages now. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the impact this election can have on our lives in the midst of these unprecedented times. It is important to remember that all American citizens can be experiencing the same feelings, regardless of how one decided to vote, and to lean on each other during this historic election.