Although there are some people taking Tuesday's general election lightly, others are emotionally reeling from the stress of the vote. Americans know they have a serious choice to make in deciding the next leader of the nation, whether they favor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, have high hopes for Republican candidate Donald Trump or remain undecided.
According to Morning Consult/POLITICO exit data, both Democrats and Republicans report not having positive feelings about picking the next president. While 72 percent of voters admitted to being anxious over the presidential election, 39 percent said they were depressed, 50 percent said they were sad and 85 percent admitted they just wanted it to be over.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by voting in this election, below are five tips to help you cope with the stress:
1. Stay off of social media.
People have the right to their opinions — and to retweet others' — but that doesn’t mean you have to read it. A survey from the American Psychological Association, or APA, revealed that the presidential election is actually a source of stress for more than 50 percent of Americans.
“Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory,” Lynn Bufka, associate executive director of the APA’s practice research and policy department, said in a news release.
If taking a break from social media isn’t an option for you, attempt to proceed with caution.
2. Treat yourself.
After going through with what may be a stressful process, Shape recommends rewarding yourself. Treat yourself to a burger, drink or maybe even a new accessory. Keep the purchase reasonable, but make sure you have something to look forward to after casting your vote.
3. Switch to decaf.
In some parts of the world, caffeine is considering a mood-altering drug, and it's also linked to panic attacks and anxiety disorders, according to WebMD.
"People often see coffee, tea and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug," Roland Griffiths, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told WebMD. "But caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and panic disorders."
Election Day would be a good chance to stick to water.
4. Do not obsess.
Constantly checking polls and the internet will not make you feel any better. Rather than obsessing and stressing about the election, focus on things you can control, like eating and exercising.
"Ultimately the outcome of this election is likely to have less impact on individuals, day to day, than we think," Michael C. Miller, an assistant psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, told Stat News. "It’s important to keep that in perspective."
5. Be prepared for the results.
Anything can happen in this election, and voters should consider the possibility that the candidate they favor may not win.
For those who do not think they can take the anxiety of watching pundits tallying the votes, Time says you should call it an early night and find out who won the election the following morning. Another option for voters is to go to sleep at their usual bedtime and keep their mobile device close. When the winner is announced, you can receive an alert, check it and go back to sleep. If you want to stay up and watch the winner announced live, be prepared to either celebrate or accept that the world is not going to end.
"Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government," the APA said in its release.