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Election Stress: Is It Affecting Your Health?


The US Election has been the cause of many debates for much of 2020. With extreme opinions on both sides, many Americans feel higher stress levels than ever. 

Election Stress: Is It Affecting Your Health?

Americans are going through an unprecedented election season.  Not only are we electing a new president and many other officials with close, important races, and agendas, but we are living in the midst of a pandemic, heated immigration debates, Black Lives Matter issues, and other social issues.  These are all important topics affecting humanity and our future.  It’s no wonder that many people are reporting elevated stress levels and social media is reporting a wide range of emotions from citizens on all political sides.  

According to Health Magazine, the term “election stress disorder” was first talked about in the 2016 election by Steven Stosny, PhD.  He stated that constant news about the election was stressing out his patients and interfering with their personal lives.  Although this is not an official medical disorder, the term has been widely used recently leading up to another very stressful (if not more so) election year.  With heated debates, polarizing opinions with supporters of Joe Biden or President Trump, many personal attacks and the wide use of social media to discuss opinions, many people are increasingly stressed and feeling overwhelmed.

If you are finding yourself affected by the range of issues this year, including the election, here are some ways you can calm your nerves:

  1. Get Enough Sleep-sleep is so important for well-being.  It is also important for muscle recovery and repair.  Waking up refreshed will also help you manage any stressful situation or conversations that happen surrounding the election.  Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Eat Healthy-Many people already know this, but it can be hard to put it into action.  Especially during times of high stress.  With the many stressful situations of 2020, reaching for processed food, baking more and consuming more alcohol can be ways of seeking comfort and easing anxiety.  But these have harmful long-term effects on overall health and well being.  Make sure to get plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein in your daily diet, as well as drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (or more) each day.
  3. Exercise-During stressful times many people push daily exercise to the back burner.  Make exercise a top priority.  If you are too overwhelmed emotionally to get to the gym or do some higher intensity work, a 30-60 minute walk is sufficient for boosting endorphins.  Getting out in nature has been proven to lower stress levels and increase feelings of well-being.   
  4. Self Care-Find something each day that makes you happy.  It doesn’t have to be a major event or costly item.  Simple things like playing with your pets or kids, taking a bath, reading an enjoyable book or finding a new comedy on TV can be ways to unplug and take your mind off stressful situations.  
  5. Unplug-This may be the most important of all.  With social media and news being more accessible than ever, it can be hard to escape the extremes of all sides in this election.  It’s easy to get sucked in, overwhelmed and not know what is real news or speculation.  With so many differing opinions and polarizing views, you can spend hours scrolling while your stress levels rise.  Staying off social media and turning off the news when you feel stressed is an important way you can take care of yourself and remain calm.

We will get through this challenging time together.  With some of these tips to increase your sense of well-being and reduce stress, you should be able to maintain your health and your weight management program.  Be sure you are continuing to monitor your progress with the SureFiz system, awareness is also an important factor to long term success and adherence.

Source: Health Magazine