Midterm elections: How to avoid stress before, after Election Day

No matter who you want to win and whether you're watching all the coverage alone or with hundreds of political allies, the midterm elections can be stressful.

But there is a secret strategy for avoiding some or all of the attendant anxiety pre- and post-Election Day.

Here are a few tips from two Atlanta-area women who help people reduce stress and seek wellness as part of their jobs:

1. If you're feeling frantic, walk, run or kickbox to shake out the nerves.

This advice comes from registered yoga teacher and mindful movement educator Caroline Gebhard of Yoga Alliance.

"I am seeing a lot of election-related stress and anxiety and people overdoing it," she said. "Add the holiday season fast approaching, and it's a perfect storm for feeling frantic and compulsive."

2. Do this simple exercise.

Personal life coach and nutritionist Ashley Brooke Harbour said she often teaches people this tension-relieving exercise that could help with stress:

"Stand about three feet from the wall, reaching out with both arms, lean at an angle into the wall and press with all your might!" she said. "Keep your feet locked on the floor so your Achilles tendons get a really good stretch. The further you stretch and harder your press, the more tension you'll release!"

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3. Limit television and social media.

"You'll only increase your stress by zoning out on social media and staying addicted to the drama," said Gebhardt. "Instead, tune back into your physical needs, which will pay off mentally and emotionally. Practice noticing the sensations and energetic needs in your body. If you're feeling foggy or desperate, like you want to avoid it all, be gentle with yourself but make an effort to move. Try a yoga class online, get outside and take a 20-minute brisk walk, dance around your house."

Most important, according to Gebhardt, is to remind yourself you've got a body, mind and spirit that need consistent movement and care.

"This applies no matter who takes office," she said.

4. Reach out to mental health professionals.

"They can help support you during this stressful time," said Gebhardt. "If you're feeling like you can function normally, it's also an important time to carve out supportive self-care through friends and family who share your perspective. Believe me, you are not alone with these feelings. The term 'national nervous breakdown' is real."

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