Election Stress

people sitting in a circle and holding hands

How to Cope with Election-Related Stress and Foster Your Resilience

Ahead of important elections, US adults can experience significant amounts of stress in their lives.

In the current socio-economic climate, with social injustices and structural racism highlighted so clearly, many people are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry, and at times, helpless. We recognize that the election season may be particularly challenging for many of us and those we care for on campus and that those who identify with historically marginalized communities may be bearing the weight of these challenges most acutely.

UHS is committed to actively improving the mental health and well-being of our UC Berkeley community and creating opportunities to practice empathy and compassion towards each other.

Below are some ideas for how to manage election-related stress and foster your resilience.

  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Break the habit of ruminating on bad outcomes by focusing on what you can control.
  • Do something:  Find an activity that you enjoy and spend time doing it. Get involved in issues that are meaningful to you. Consider advocacy and community involvement in ways that fit you. 
  • Unplug: If following the news, watching the debates, or scrolling through social media is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Permit yourself to take a break from the news.  Consider activities such as being in nature, engaging in art projects, reading something fun, watching funny videos, and listening to music. 
  • Connect:  Engage with supportive friends and allies. Talk about current issues, if needed, but be aware of when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Be Present: Recognize your feelings and reactions and give yourself permission to feel the way you do. Although avoiding can be useful at times, ignoring strong emotions can have a negative impact.
  • Refuel: Don’t forget to take care of yourself before, during, and after the election.  Here are some ideas: Take deep breaths, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, practice mindfulness, try to eat healthy meals, watch your caffeine intake,
  • Stay active:  moving helps us release the energy we experience when we feel stressed.  Move a little every day. Stretch. Take a walk. Get outside and into nature.
  • Try not to judge your emotions or to judge others. Remember that we are all different and need different things to self-soothe.
  • Practice positive psychology:  Despite all of the negativity in the election, try to find some balance. Seek out positive stories and news. It’s an important reminder of the positive things in life and the strength of the human spirit. Practice gratitude for the things and the people in your life you feel thankful for. 

Download and view the PDF version of these election self-care tips.

Additional Support Resources

Counseling Support 

  • UHS Mental Health Services is currently offering phone and video counseling to students. Please call (510) 642-9494 if your concern is urgent. For after-hours support, please call the 24/7 support line at (855) 817-5667.

TAO (Therapy Assisted Online) and Mobile App

  • TAO is an online library of engaging, interactive programs that help you manage feelings of stress and anxiety during these times. All UC Berkeley students have access to this resource at no cost.