Expert says people can support one another amid stressful election year

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Credit: WINK News.

It’s been a stressful election season, but it doesn’t need to take a toll on your relationships. People are taking a stand and publicly promising to not let politics hinder their friendships or family ties.

We looked at what you can do to help in your own situation.

Poll watcher Jacquelyn Wildermuth in Lee County describes this election season as intense, but it’s what happens once the results are in that she’s most worried about.

“It’s more a sense of foreboding that you feel like there’s some unrest that may be coming,” Wildermuth said.

She feels, no matter which candidate wins, we all lose if we stay divided.

MORE: See all SWFL election results from Campaign Central

“My main concern is how everyone is going to treat one another after this election,” Wildermuth said. “Because, leading up to the election, things have been so tense.”

“You don’t have to worry about what has happened in the past because we can’t change it,” said Dr. Alise Bartley, with FGCU’s Community Counseling Center. “We need to focus in on the fact that, this moment, you can do something different.”

Bartley told us, to move forward, we need to lean on one another.

“Talking to the people who can support you and help you through this is probably the best way to go,” Bartley said.

Even if your views differ, it doesn’t mean people can’t share support.

“Just because you listen to someone doesn’t mean you have to agree with them,” Bartley said. “It shows that you respect the relationship.”

Bartley says, if these conversations are difficult, know that it’s OK to agree to disagree. She says it also helps to keep in mind all of the things you do agree on.

“Right now, today, tomorrow, the next couple of days, it might be really difficult,” Wildermuth said. “I think that a lot of people are going to be upset or scared or worried. And so, we need more than ever to take care of each other.”

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