Self Care Can Help with Post-Election Stress
By Samantha Matsumoto of the Oregonian
Before the election was even decided, more than half of Americans adults reported that it was causing them significant stress, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in late October. Just because the results have come in, though, doesn’t mean that stress has gone away.
Anxiety, stress and other emotional reactions can be triggered by large changes like election results, according to Samantha Ridderbusch, a spokeswoman for mental health non-profit Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. The organization can’t yet say whether there’s been an increased need for mental health services, but at least a few people are asking for help with election-related anxiety, Ridderbusch said.
Reported spikes in violence toward LGBTQ people, immigrants and Muslims after the election can also lead to increased stress or fear, Cascadia Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Sandra Wilborn said.
“Communities that have been marginalized prior to and throughout the course of this campaign may, understandably, experience increased stress for fear that rights attained through hard fought battles will be systematically rolled back though executive actions or legislation,” Wilborn said.
Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services, which provides support for those with mental illness, doesn’t have available data about whether calls to crisis lines have increased, spokesman Ryan Yambra said on Wednesday. However, anyone experiencing anxiety or distress should call the county’s crisis line at 503-988-4888, he said. The crisis line provides counseling over the phone 24 hours a day.
People should also practice self-care when they are feeling distressed, Yambra said. Keeping up with usual routines and getting proper rest can help with anxiety, he said. He also advised limiting time spent on social media and reading news when feeling particularly stressed.
Ridderbusch also said that self-care and paying attention to emotions can be helpful for dealing with elections-related stress.
“I think it’s important all the time, but particularly in situations that potentially could have traumatic or anxiety or stress-inducing effects,” Ridderbusch said.