Ways to Cope with Post-Election Stress

3 min

Maggie Bertram
Maggie Bertram

The last 18 months have been tiring and anxiety-provoking, with a majority of Americans saying they’ve been worn out by the election.

After seeing the results of all the political races at the national, state, and local levels, it seems highly unlikely that every candidate you passionately supported for office this time around was elected. Our country is politically divided right now—perhaps more than it’s been in decades—and coping with that split is difficult.

With that in mind, consider the following coping tips to smooth things out and find a way forward.


No, politics isn’t necessarily a sport, but there are winners and losers. Remember the principles of sportsmanship as you proceed this week. If your candidate won, be gracious. No need to rub it in your opponents’ faces; they know they have lost. Part of healing this division is extending your hand, saying “good game,” and offering to work together.

Likewise, if your candidate lost, extend your hand and say “good game,” too. No matter how hard you fought, seeing your opponent as a fellow human is important.

Let it out.

If you supported someone who lost, it’s ok to cry, be angry, and vent. Look to your support system and other like-minded individuals to help you through.

Drink water.

This might seem out of place, but staying hydrated when you’re under stress is very important.

Moderate alcohol.

Alcohol is a depressant. So, if you’re feeling down, alcohol will only make it harder for you to think clearly, get out of bed in the morning, and maintain your relationships.

Get outside.

Step out and see a friend or take a walk through nature to gain some perspective. Take comfort in seeing that the world is still turning.

Get back to your routine.

Go to class, the gym, eat dinner, go for a run. Do what you would on a normal day to prevent post-election stress from overtaking you.

Do some good.

Volunteer for a local organization, participate in a random act of kindness for someone, put more love into the world.

Reach out.

If you know people who have been negatively impacted by election outcomes, let them know you’re there for them if they need to talk or just a place to escape to. Supporting others can help you feel like you’re doing something, even when you’re unsure of what to do next.

Call your therapist.

If you are in therapy, or are feeling like this is a good time to start, call to make an appointment. Having someone to talk to who is nonjudgmental and trained to help you sort out your thoughts can be a huge relief.

Local resources.

Find out what resources are being offered on your campus. Some campus communities are offering additional group therapy sessions, community conversations, and support groups.

National resources.

Whether you or someone you know has been triggered or is struggling, there are many resources available:

  • RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
  • The Trevor Project Helpline (for LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults): 1-866-488-7386
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “Brave” to 741-741

You do you.

Brainstorm a list of positive coping mechanisms that help you through other times of stress. Often, your best resource for what to do is already inside you.