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How to avoid election depression if your candidate loses

As the culmination of a contentious and consequential campaign is drawn out, not immediately knowing the result can lead to some anxiety.

SAN ANTONIO — Election Stress Disorder—it's a real thing. Whether your candidate wins or loses, there are many things you can do to keep stress levels down and limit anxiety among friends, family and coworkers. 

When a winner is eventually announced, there are many things to keep in mind depending on who you voted for. For starts: What if your candidate lost? 

"Whether you are anxious, whether you're stressed, whether you're frustrated—those are all normal emotions," psychiatrist Harry Croft said. "So instead of fighting those emotions, accept them."

Another tip the psychiatrist suggested is to tell yourself that, once the election is over, what's done is done and it's time to move on.

"Just have a good talk with yourself about, 'Darn, I wish it would've been different, but it wasn't.'"

Some tips to help limit your election stress:

  • Acknowledge when you need help and take stock on how the stress is affecting you. 
  • Channel that stress into something productive. 
  • Set boundaries around political conversations. 
  • Be wary of social media triggers. 
  • Don't forget about self-care. 

"Make sure you have nutrition, make sure you get enough liquid. Try to help yourself get get enough rest," Croft added. "Avoid the temptation to numb those feelings with alcohol or drugs or abusable substances."

And what if your candidate wins? Croft's suggestion is to avoid gloating.

"That usually turns out to be pretty negative in your personal relationships with that person, as well as your work relationships with that person."

Relaxation in either case goes a long way, especially while waiting for the results. 

"Relaxation could involve doing yoga or tai chi or meditation or getting a massage or doing things that will help you to relax," Croft said. 

Also: Try to only stress about the things you can control. You can't control the outcome of the election, but you can control your behavior.