Dear Dr. Beal:
I’m not sure what happened to me but during the election week I felt anxious and scared. I became irritable and was snapping at everyone. It was a very difficult time and I know the outcome but I still feel some kind of way. Was that normal? Or am I losing it?
Signed, Emotional Rollercoaster
First, I want to state that the anxiety you were feeling during the election period was shared by many people. This year, 2020 has created a lot of fear, anger, uncertainty, and anxiety for everyone. There have been so many challenges and emotional ups and downs as we approach the last two months of this year. Let’s look at all we have had to address in nine months. First, the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has not experienced a crisis like this since early 1900s. The pandemic has altered every aspect of American life from health, education, eating, and work. Second, the racial undertones of what the world watched with the death of George Floyd, and the other senseless killings of unarmed black males. Children were not allowed to return to schools and parents became teachers. There is a constant fear of contracting the virus and information has been inconsistent from our commander in chief; yet, researchers had a different view. Lastly, was the presidential election to decide the most important office in the land. Would we vote Donald Trump back in for another four years or make a change and history with the Biden/Harris ticket?
According to the American Psychological Association, “about 68% of U.S. adults said the presidential election was a significant source of stress in their lives, up from 56% who said so in 2016.” In addition, sadly, Black adults report that their stress level due to the election jumped from 46% in 2016 to 71% in 2020. This could be because we had a lot riding on the outcome of this race.
There was fear across the country that if the office changed that African Americans should fear for their lives. There were reports that guns were being purchased across the nation and no one could not find bullets. There were rallies reported on televisions of Trumpsters and racial slurs. All of these are anxiety producing news reports. It had everyone living in the unknown just like everything else this year but since we are on the other side we can plan and continue to educate ourselves.
Here are some coping skills that you can take into consideration, that will help with stress, anxiety, and fear.
- Decrease the amount of social media, and television if you find yourself becoming anxious
- Take deep breaths
- Burn Candles
- Play Relaxing music
- Do not focus on what you can’t control
- Focus on what you can control
- Engage in meaningful activities
- Stay socially connected with others who are positive
- Wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance when in public
Finally, reader, you are not losing it. Your emotions are quite normal based on what is happening in America today. As the year comes to an end and you reflect on the challenges, write them down and second, write down the positives. I hope the first thing that you are thankful for is that you made it through the year.
Do You Have A Question? Connect with me! :email@example.com
“Good Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth”