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Health Team

UNC experts give advice on how to decrease stress and anxiety centered around Election Day

Posted November 3, 2020 4:47 p.m. EST
Updated November 3, 2020 5:58 p.m. EST

— This year’s election has caused heightened anxiety. UNC’s Commission on Campus Equality and Student Equity met with local experts virtually to discuss how to balance these emotions during and after the election.

If you’re feeling the stress of Election Day, health experts say you are far from alone. In recent weeks, UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services has received an influx of people seeking professional support.

“Over the course of quarantine, many folks have experienced kind of a roller coaster of emotion, feeling OK like you’re handling things one day and then feeling more like things are kind of falling apart," said Lavoya Woods-Dionne, a social worker.

From the ongoing pandemic to the fear of what lies ahead in election results, anxiety is heightened.

“It’s difficult because everywhere that we turn there’s a focus on the election and regardless of if you’re on your phone getting the multiple text messages and calls or if you’re watching TV or scrolling on social media," added Dr. Cherish Williams, a psychologist.

She recommends meditating, going out for a walk, connecting with friends, taking a break to do nothing or unplugging from social media. “Even if it’s unplugging for certain amount of time. If it’s like, hey I dedicate an hour right now to being able to just do school work or I’m going to dedicate the next 30 minutes to my mental health," she said.

Students at UNC, however, said finding that perfect balance of handling their emotions is challenging.

“Me and my friends are kind of overwhelmed with keeping a balance between work, extracurriculars … now amidst all the anxiety related to the election," added on student attending the virtual meeting.

Therapists said that’s the perfect time to identify those trigger factors, center yourself, slow down and build a routine to address those feelings head-on. “Finding the different methods of self-care that’s going to be helpful for you and then slowly incorporating them into your routine that you already have so that it’s not as much of an adjustment," Williams suggested.

As we lead into the post-election cycle of events, experts said practicing these techniques will make a huge difference in your mental and physical well-being. Seeking professional help more often is also suggested.

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