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Post Presidential Election Stress Disorder- "PPESD" 

What is it and how to cope!

By Dr Marcus Dayhoff, Psy.D, CEAP, SAP

The past presidential election campaign could arguably be called one of the most “contentious and stressful” political periods of our lifetime. As a recent APA- American Psychological Association study found, over 55% of Americans admit to “some level of stress” directly due to the events related to the presidential election. When this stress is left unmanaged it may result in what we have termed “PPESD” or “Post Presidential Election Stress Disorder.” The following are common symptoms of PPESD and suggested effective strategies to cope.

 

Symptoms may include:

 

  • irritability and muscle tension

  • fatigue

  • worry about the future,

  • concentration difficulties

  • fixation on media updates

  • sleep difficulties

  • appetite disturbance

  • isolation

  • homicidal or suicidal thoughts

  • inter-personal and family relationships negatively affected

 

Coping Strategies:

 

  • Take a timeout – Commit to certain periods of time throughout your day and week to just relax and refocus on non-post election events.

  • Exercise- Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, go to the gym, or do anything that can keep the heart rate up for 20 minutes a day to reduce stress.

  • Stay positive- Whether you like the results or not, resist the urge to act, speak, listen, write, post, tweet, re-tweet, and engage in anything that is negative.

  • Know your limitations- Stick to scheduled times to check the news. Disable the 24/7 notifications from media sources that are designed to keep you distracted.

  • Keep things in perspective- Keep post election matters in its place of importance after other family and work related priorities.

  • Agree to disagree- If you are engaged in a post elction political conversation that seems contentious, exercise your right to respectfully disagree and reiterate that your relationship is more important than being right or wrong.

  • Get professional help- If you are struggling to cope and feeling the emotional or physical effects of stress, seek out professional support.