Repairing stressed, strained relationships following the election

Updated: Nov. 8, 2020 at 8:33 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - After such a contentious election cycle, many are finding relationships that may be strained with loved ones, particularly with those who sit across the political aisle.

Social work experts say stressed relationships should be expected at this time, but now it’s time to start finding common ground.

A master of social work with Loyola University, Asia Wong says one of the most important things to remember is to be understanding of the other side.

She says that’s especially important because, during this stressful year, the election outcome could have elicited different reactions compared to years past.

“If you got the result you wanted maybe be aware that’s not true for everyone, if you didn’t get the results you wanted can you take a deep breath. Can you say I know a lot of people are happy right now? can you choose not to rain on their parade even if you are not doing great,” Wong said.

“It’s on both sides, right? There was a lot of stress coming up through the election. And there’s a lot of stress now,” said Tonya Hansel.

In having those stressful, or politically-charged conversations with loved ones, Tonya Hansel with Tulane University encourages folks to remember that they’re conversations they don’t need to have right now, feel free to walk away or create distance.

“How willing they are to have these conversations, and if they’re in a good place emotionally because when our emotions are too high that’s not really the time that you can be open-minded. That’s probably not the time you’ll be looking for commonalities that differ from your opinions and the way you think the world should work,” Hansel said.

As a nurse, Vanessa Conley took a trip from Gulfport to relax a bit and enjoy New Orleans for the first time.

“I ran into people of all nationalities: Latino, African-American, Caucasian. I mean no matter what it was just it brought me to tears,” Conley said.

She hopes in the days following the election, and just like on the streets of New Orleans, she hopes everyone can start to heal together.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re Democratic, Republican, neutral, liberal whatever it is, this is the United States, democracy is what we will build on and we can do this if we do it together,” Conley said.

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