Decision 2020

As Election Anxiety Builds, People Pledge to Disconnect From News and Social Media

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It’s the eve of Election Day and the anticipation is building. For some, it’s almost too much. People are deliberately seeking out peace as the next 24 hours unfold.

Kimberly Jenkins picked up fishing over the summer. On the eve of Election Day, she’s turning to her newfound love of nature to calm her nerves. Like so many others, this election has her stressed.

“With the election and just the pandemic within itself, this definitely helps me clear my mind,” said Jenkins. “We’re just kind of like bracing ourselves as is everyone I think for the outcome tomorrow honestly.”

Other than her time here at White Rock Lake and other nature trails, there’s been no escaping political talk.

“Even just having political conversations with our coworkers and everybody has their side and tensions are so high right now in America,” said Jenkins.

Trends show the country is on edge. Businesses are boarding up windows and firearm background checks are up. Overall, the American Psychological Association says nearly 70% of Americans view the election as a major source of stress.

John Caperton, a Dallas County voter, said he won’t escape to his usual campgrounds this year. But he’s got a well laid-out plan to keep anxiety in check.

“It’s a combination of COVID and the fervor that’s been built up,” he said. “I’m taking half a day off tomorrow, and all day Wednesday. I’m going to be doing a news block-out starting now. I’ve got a bunch of books from my kindle.”

For some, it’s a matter of connecting with the right people and disconnecting from the wrong ones.

“I have to stay off social media because I just feel like everybody’s opinions and thoughts and angry remarks are going to be out there and that brings a lot of anxiety on myself,” said Dallas County resident, Kelsey Smissen.

As the hours wind down, Caperton said he will stick to his plan, come what may.

“A couple of good books that take me to a different place, and just relax and deal with it Thursday,” said Caperton.

The American Psychological Association offers some advice to manage election-related stress:

  • Focus on what you can control
  • Engage in meaningful activities
  • Stay socially connected with friends and family

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.

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