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Tips for managing post-election stress

Worry rises as the wait for election results continue

ST. LOUIS — Post-election worry is settling in for Americans as many continue to hit refresh on return maps, waiting to see the results. 

"There's been anxiety leading up to the election. There's anxiety from COVID, there's been just uncertainty about everything," Washington University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Jessi Gold said during an interview with 5 On Your Side. "This is just compounding what we already had before and then not knowing is always one of those things that prey on anxiety."

Dr. Gold said just watching and waiting for results can worsen how we feel and even the chime that goes off when results come in can provoke anxiety.

"People get a little bit of trauma, just from that," she said.

That trauma can combine with trauma from previous contentious elections and worry about possible unrest this year. 

Richelle Moore is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor with St. Louis-based Restore Counseling and Wellness Services.

"The outcome, leading to unrest is is a big topic right now," Moore said. "Feeling safe is a big topic right now and concern about what it looks like for whoever wins this election on the other side of this." 

Moore is telling her patients to focus on what they can control, not on what they can't.

"Take comfort in knowing that you did your part," she said. "So if you were able to get out and vote and exercise your right to vote, you did your part."

Moore and Dr. Gold recommend the following:

  • Limit social media 
  • Watch, read and listen to election news in increments
  • Do something you enjoy 
  • Try a new hobby
  • Spend time in the sun

If you feel that your stress and worry is growing out of control, reach out for professional help. 

"Do the best you can. Don't beat yourself up if you can't do it immediately but know whatever you're feeling is totally normal," Dr. Gold tells 5 On Your Side, "It's a hard time."

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