Yes, it’s only February, and we are already in the throes of what is to be a long, fiery and divisive election year.

Underneath the “Minnesota nice,” I know there is a deeply divided political environment both locally and across the state. So how can we push through the onslaught of endless political ads and heated political news?

It may not be easy, but we have several ways of doing this, including: learning to manage our media diet, learning to change the topic and possibly learning to cope with a loss.

Every election season begins with the barrage of political ads and news while one is simply trying to unwind with television, print or digital consumption. Back in the day when the news cycle was much slower, news and opinion was light.

Nowadays with technology and social media, we are now able to bathe in an endless glut of news and opinion. Just like a well-balanced diet, media should be consumed like food. Look at the news and your social media feed once in the morning, once at lunch and once in the evening. We don't need to check the news and social media every minute.

Once you do that’s where the frustration will begin.

As with any regular diet one needs to cut out the junk. Start with social media. It’s my observation many people scroll when they’re bored, depressed or anxious, and politically related content can reinforce these emotions. So simply unfollow what annoys you, and yes that can even be your beloved relative or friend.

When it comes to news consume multiple, credible sources. No publication is perfect. This is where I get annoyed with the phrase, “I saw something about it on Facebook.”

Not everything we digest in our media is real. Learn to ask yourself questions like “If I’m wrong, where can I find evidence that contradicts my belief?”. Check other sides of a viewpoint, visiting Allsides.com to read articles reflecting the left, center and right views on various issues. Also, visit Factcheck.org, a site that verifies and refutes claims in news stories.

The presidential election will most likely be the most important thing to happen on a Tuesday all year, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk about it. Why would you want to?

At this point, politics are so heated that it’s a surefire way to cause issues. Hoping to change someone's mind? Ha, hearts and minds are not won over during chatter.

When the election comes up in conversation – and it will, whether you want it to or not – you might want to change the subject. The easiest way out of this is by saying “I really haven't been following any of it” or “This is simply too much of a hot-button topic to discuss.”

After all, honesty is the best policy they always say.

In the end someone eventually is going to win this election, which means many others will lose. Perhaps even your chosen candidate will be swept into the collection bin of history. When this does happen, do not despair. Stewing in the defeat and loss will only further add to the divisiveness that we already find ourselves in.

Take comfort in knowing that most losing candidates land on their feet. If you can’t quit your candidate, you’ll find a way to keep backing them. In all honesty it’s better to just move on.

Whoever loses the 2020 race will be just fine, and so will you.