How To Manage Your Mental Health During This Nightmare Election

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This article was originally published on October 18, 2016.
This election has been a garbage fire since the jump, and it’s only getting worse. The Ugh, seriously, 2016? thinking is not just overwrought Twitter commentary, but a statistically relevant result of our collective nightmare. Or, in other words, it’s totally normal to feel stressed out, unable to sleep, or even anxious or depressed right now. (I mean, always, but especially right now.)
In a national poll of 1,000 voting-age citizens, University of Minnesota psychologist William J. Doherty found that 43% of respondents reported emotional stress related to Trump’s campaign, 28% due to Clinton’s campaign, and 93% say it’s worse than any other election. The evidence doesn’t stop there. According to the American Psychological Association, the election is a “significant source of stress” for 52% of American adults. Or, in other words (I’m not sure how reassuring this is): Pretty much everyone else feels helplessly screwed, too!
With 20 days left until the vote, and one more debate to endure, it’s likely things are going to get more painful before they subside — especially for women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or anyone who has any common sense at all. In the effort to quell our national anguish and prevent your chest from splitting open out of sheer anxiety, Refinery29 spoke to Alice Boyes, PhD, author of The Anxiety Toolkit, about election-induced mental health issues — and how to manage even the most distressing moments of political panic.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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