There’s no getting around it: election season is stressful. No matter which candidate you plan to vote for, the weeks and months leading up to November 3 are full of heightened emotions, uncomfortable conversations and the anxious buzz of a relentless news cycle.
But despite the political frenzy that consumes the country at large, many of our most troubling election season experiences take place right at home, and involve our immediate family members. After all, how do you respond when your 7-year-old asks you about the latest hot-button issue, or your partner makes an off-hand remark that you fundamentally disagree with?
These situations can have a real impact on our lives — especially as political temperatures rise. One 2017 study found that 29% of Americans who were married or in a relationship in 2016 reported that the post-election political climate caused tension with their partner. Our kids feel the heat too: a 2018 study found that 86% of teens and young adults ages 14 to 24 felt emotional stress, anxiety, or fear in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
Elections impact us on an individual level as well. A January report by the American Psychological Association found that 56% of U.S. adults identified the 2020 presidential election as a significant stressor. That’s an increase from the 52% who reported the same in the months before the 2016 vote. It’s also worth noting that this year's survey was completed before the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation, killing more than 175,000 Americans and causing another 50 million to file for unemployment.
The stakes are high, but there is a way through. Ahead, you’ll find stories about how to navigate election season — and all of the anxieties, fears, and uncomfortable situations that come with it — as it relates to yourself, your relationship, and your kids. From a deep dive into how to have a constructive disagreement with your partner (or anyone else) to a step-by-step guide to boosting your civic engagement, we hope you'll find everything you need to maneuver the political landscape this fall.
To get started on your journey to November 3, we encourage you to read our breakdown of how to vote in every state. To ensure you're able to do so, check your voter registration or register to vote. (Seriously, do it right now.) Being able to cast your vote is an important constitutional right and one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard.
Photography: Mike Garten / Prop Styling: Elisabeth Engelhart and Alex Mata / Design: Betsy Farrell
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