When I complained to my sister that I’ve had trouble sleeping for the last few weeks, she said almost all her Baby Boomer friends at a neighborhood party the night before reported the same problem.
But it isn’t just a lack of sleep.
People can’t concentrate at work. Parents are yelling at their kids. My financial advisor told me his clients are complaining that business is down. Even people who sell on Etsy are griping about slow sales for their bags and baubles.
The culprit? The scummy election, made worse by the political venom being spewed on social media.
In a survey for the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of American adults reported that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The survey was conducted online among adults 18 and older living in the U.S.
What’s a Publicity Hound to do? Start creating content and sharing it, or pitching the media. Now. Don’t wait until next week.
Regardless of who wins the White House, the story of election stress and fear will have long legs, far beyond the inauguration. But get a jump on your competitors.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Therapists and counselors.
Are you seeing more clients affected by situational depression? Are they specifically mentioning the election? Do you counsel families that have been split apart by politics?
Google “how to heal” + “election” and you’ll find stories galore from four years ago, with advice from every corner of the globe on how we can get along. Is it naive to think that things will get better?
2. Clergy, authors and speakers.
Even though the clergy can’t violate federal law by preaching politics from the pulpit, are your sermons on related topics like anger, resentment, forgiveness, spiritual healing, envy and the power of prayer? Have you chosen a topic for this weekend’s sermon that’s tied into how people should treat each other regardless of who wins?
A Pew Research Center survey finds many American churchgoers were hearing at least some discussion of social political issues from the pulpits at their houses of worship. Which issues are important to your church or religion?
Do people pray for a favorite candidate to win? Does God listen? What Bible verses comfort us?
Authors and experts, if you write or speak on speak on topics like how to heal, or forgiveness, offer your expertise and tips.
3. Doctors and clinics.
How does emotional stress cause physical illness? How are we most apt to get sick? If we’re checking news sites 50 times a day for a new batch of leaked emails or another dumb gaffe, are we more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu? What should we do to stop obsessing?
4. Health food stores.
What natural remedies, like chamomile tea or melatonin supplements do you recommend for people who can’t fall asleep? What essential oils help with relaxation?
5. Online and offline retailers.
In any other year, you can have fun with special sales on Election Day, but not this time. Are you delaying promotions until after Nov. 8 when you don’t have to compete with all those political ads for consumers’ attention? Many retailers can’t wait until Election Day.
6. Business experts.
Are small business owners notorious for playing the blame game, and pointing the finger at factors like national elections, the weather and other bad news when sales are down? For people who work at home, it’s easy to turn on the TV or, for the twentieth time today, look online for breaking news. What tips can you share on how to stay focused and disciplined?
7. Web developers and computer repair shops.
Are customers calling, paranoid that their own email might be hacked? Are you getting questions about things like firewalls, how to add two-factor authentication for more security, and whether a strange looking email is actually a phishing scheme? What are you telling them?
8. Addiction and weight loss counselors.
People say the anxiety is making them drink, smoke and eat more. While doing research to write this blog post, what I read was so depressing that I ate a half bag of toasted almonds while writing, and then went out and bought an ice cream cone.
Even Weight Watchers mentions “worries over the presidential election” in one of its quizzes called Are You Feeding Your Stress? What’s the best way to put on the brakes?
Have your sales been up? Have you seen people arguing over politics more than usual this year? Offer a little levity. Have you named drinks after Clinton or Trump? Some bartenders have.
10. Social media experts.
What’s your advice for people who can’t bear the thought of unplugging from social media for a week but can’t stand the nasty videos, headlines and name-calling they see on sites like Facebook? I’ve written about how political rants harm you. What other mistakes do you see people making on these sites, especially if they use social media for business?
If you pitch any of these ideas, you might find interesting statistics in stories I’ve linked to, above.
Those are my ideas. What are yours?