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Election Season = Migraine Season

No matter whether you are a democrat, republican, independent or libertarian, this election season has surely presented a unique experience for all of us. For nearly two years, and for a myriad of reasons, it feels as if we have been on a dizzying and at times nauseating roller coaster ride. The stakes are high and so are the emotions of those who follow the race closely.

With healthcare being a central point of contention, those of us with migraines might be paying especially close attention: we have a pre-existing condition that might affect health care coverage, after all. And for those of us on disability, we might be particularly interested in how our benefits might be impacted. Like I said, the stakes are high.

With the polls being so close and topsy and turvy, it is clear that our nation is divided. For those of us with migraines triggered by stress, the last many months might’ve led to an increase in pain. Personally, I have felt caught up in the twists and turns of this election season which has led to a level of obsession and worry that’s caused me to lose sleep. Of course the result of a change in sleep pattern for many of us with migraines means more migraines.

Unfortunately, our political climate has become quite hostile these days. So, when we encounter someone rooting for another candidate, we might feel as if our entire belief system is being questioned or confronted. Healthy and respectful discourse is not always being modeled between the candidates, and exchanges between family members or friends with opposing viewpoints sometimes seem to follow suit.  Conversations can get quickly heated and turn into personal attacks. When stress is a trigger, it is precisely these kinds of interactions that can start a migraine.

For those of us on social media, logging onto our accounts can suddenly reveal that our long-held friends have opposing viewpoints. Do we engage? I find that doing so immediately makes my blood pressure rise and causes what might be a low grade headache to quickly climb into migraine status. My philosophy in those cases is that it’s best to avoid engaging, and instead to prioritize the friendship over all else. After all, in most cases, folks are so dug into their ‘sides’ it’s wasted breath to try to convince anyone to see a different view at this stage in the race anyway.

With just a bit of time left in this election season, how do we avoid what for some of us has become yet another migraine trigger? I’m learning that there’s such a thing as too much stimulation when it comes to this kind of stress. Saturating my day with updates about every new dramatic wrinkle in the election is for me unhealthy. It’s too easy to become obsessed and incapable of putting it down at the end of the day. I suppose there’s a balance to be sought just like with everything in life. Be as informed as you can be and get as involved as your heart and your head allow.

Are you experiencing any rise in your migraine pain pattern during this window of time? How are you handling the stress of election season?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Mr FBP
    3 years ago

    I’ve gone through this in the UK when we had the EU referendum – and it’s still going on (and likely will do for the next two years). People who were civil to each other on social media are suddenly aggressive and outright obscene. I think the standard of political debate has deteriorated badly over the last year.

    I have switched off notification on Facebook and Twitter on all my devices, apart from direct personal messaging. I have removed Facebook from all devices except my personal laptop, which I only use between the end of the working day and until my home wifi switches off at 10:00pm. In fact I don’t get notifications from any websites now.

    It certainly reduces stress, and allows me to get on with things I enjoy. I haven’t tracked if it has reduced my migraines though.

    I hope that the election actually resolves the debate, and it isn’t dragged out like Gore v. Bush. That election seemed really civil compared to what is going on now.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the comment Mr FBP! You have certainly taken some great healthy & liberating steps in order to avoid or reduce stress by turning off the notifications. It’s must be great feeling! Focusing on you, the good & what’s important in your life is a great way to handle things!

    Thanks again & especially for being part of our community!
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “How are you handling the stress of election season?”
    I quit paying that much attention to it some time back. It is a circus. I learned a few elections back that anything the political candidates say is mostly just talk. Make up your mind the best you can, vote and the electoral college will decide for us who gets to be president. It is not worth stressing over. I’ve learned over the years that even when who you vote for gets in things usually get worse. Even people running for some of the offices in my state are not good candidates. I think that if that is the best we have, oh my. I’m old and tired of politicians and government not even making sense any more. So take care of myself and do not obsess over it. If I sound a little negative today, it’s one of those days.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Luna! I have to say your post made me smile. Did you know there is a show about this election cycle called “The Circus”? So your post gave me the giggles.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having one of those days – that was my yesterday, and to a little lesser degree, today. I’m sending all good wishes for a much better tomorrow. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the response Luna! You share some great advice and tips and that is to avoid the “circus” and to take care of YOU! I sure agree with that being the best solution to avoid stress this season. Hope you are having a better day! Thanks as always for being such an engaging member. We appreciate it!

    Warmly,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

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