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10 ways to deal with post-election anxiety

Waiting for election results is never easy, especially with so many variables at this period, increasing the growing concerns among people.

Even people who take very little interest in politics are most likely affected by the political climate as friends, families, and co-workers are discussing their thoughts and anxieties about the situation.

While staying connected to what is going on in the nation, here are ways to prevent it from having negative consequences on your well-being:

1. Acknowledge your fear

The first step to overcoming your fears is acknowledging them. When you get to the root of the problem, conquering fear comes naturally.

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According to a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Charles Umeh, “What affects people the more is the unknown fear and like it is is now, there is unknown fear all over, and you don’t even know what you are afraid of, and that is where the danger is and you know some people are more vulnerable than others. When you know the source of fear, the fear disappears.”

2. Be open-minded

Conversations on the electioneering process can be contentious, and if you know you cannot cope with having discussions around it with an open mind, do not engage in such discussions. If you are not emotionally stable to have those kinds of conversations, then agree to disagree.

Advising Nigerians, a professor of public health, Tanimola Akande said everyone needs to show tolerance and be open-minded to avoid post-election anxiety.”

Prof Akande said there are too many issues to worry about in the electioneering process in Nigeria “but unfortunately, despite our being very religious, we tend to have a do-or-die attitude towards the election.

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“Nigerians need to remain calm, this is not to say they should not express their opinions, but confrontations should be avoided. Most of the anxiety has to do with religious and ethnic sentiments, as well as the fear of poor governance.”

3. Limit social media consumption

The excessive use of social media can fuel anxiety and depression, particularly, when there is misinformation and when the tension is high.

A health practitioner, Dr. Obi Igbokwe said, “Constantly checking the news or scrolling through social media and WhatsApp groups can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Set boundaries for yourself and try to limit your exposure to these platforms.

4. Exercise

Regular exercise can help you relax, and lower symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“Exercising especially during this period will go a long way to reduce tension, Dr Umeh, who is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, added.

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5. Get enough sleep

Don’t use your bed to listen to the radio, watch the television or scroll on your phone. Having enough sleep will help regulate your emotions and prevent the escalation of anxiety.

6. Connect with loved ones

Being in the midst of people, especially your loved ones, that are of like minds can ease the tension. “Talking to friends or family members who share similar concerns or anxieties can help you feel less isolated and more supported,” Igbokwe noted.

7. Engage in self-care

Develop self-care activities that will help protect your mental space. Take deep breaths, meditate, practice mindfulness, and endeavor to disconnect yourself from worries and redirect your thought process.

8. Seek professional help

Igbokwe added that if your anxiety is interfering with your daily life leaving you feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help from a mental health professional.

9. Focus on the positive

Focusing on the positive will help alleviate anxiety, fear, and depression. Try to remain optimistic, having a positive outlook can have a beneficial impact on both physical and mental well-being.

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10. Move on

Finding out that the candidate you support loses in the election can be disappointing, but do not bury yourself in grief. Learn to move on, there are better days ahead, your candidate can contest again in 2027.

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