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Mental health experts say 'take a break' to deal with stress

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 18:30:30-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Between the election and the COVID-19 pandemic, it's most likely a stressful time for many Americans.

Mental health experts have some advice on how to handle it.

Monte Miller, Behavioral Health Services Manager at Saint Luke's, said it's important to know your limits when consuming content on TV or social media that can cause stress and anxiety.

"I do think we're going to have to be self-aware when we know that, 'Hey I've got to take a break, I need to de-stress, this is becoming too much for me,'" Miller said.

Jackson County absentee voter Mike Graham said he is experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety this week.

"I've lost some sleep this week for sure," Graham said.

Miller said the political divide, combined with the pandemic, is taking its toll on Americans.

"We're seeing a rise in depression, anxiety, addictions, domestic violence," Miller said.

For some voters, like Dennis Dunks, his strategy to handling the stress is simple.

"You can't control it so just go with it," Dunks said.

Dr. Danielle Johnson, a psychologist at the University of Kansas Health System, said Dunks' mentality is what everyone should try to have this week.

"We don't have control over the election process, we can control that we voted, but find some ways to do things for yourself that's unrelated to the election," Johnson said.

For some voters like Richard Smith, it's being around people he loves and trusts.

"I do intend to spend a little more time with family so that's a little less stressful than anything else," Smith said.

To de-stress, Johnson recommends taking breaks from social media, connecting with loved ones, getting out and enjoying the nice weather, exercising and having some time alone. She also wants to encourage anyone feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, anxious or depressed to seek help.

"Find ways to support yourself," Johnson said. "Mental health is of the utmost importance so seeking out professional help is really important right now because the stress is cumulative."