In Culture
election anxiety

photo credit: Kerry Michaels

Election anxiety is rampant. Nearly 70% of Americans say that elections are a significant source of stress.

Here at Give and Take, we are all about using positive psychology to make our work lives better.

So today, instead of another post on equity and inclusion in the workplace, how awesome Givitas is, or ways to stay connected and engaged while working remotely, we’re focusing on managing our mental health for the next few days (hopefuly not weeks)!

Before I share my list, I’m assuming three things:

  • That you’ve already voted! If not, that is what you should be doing to distract yourself first!
  • That you’ve volunteered for your team in some way, shape, or form. Knock doors with a mask. Call voters and encourage them to get out. Text voters if you hate the phone. Volunteer at a poll. There is plenty to do! Volunteering is a great way to feel proactive and productive. Even if it’s election day, there is still time.
  • You are not interested in suggestions like “go for a jog,” or “bake a healthy, low-carb treat!” or “rearrange your pantry.” There are a million articles already like that, and besides, haven’t we already exhausted those ideas after being in quarantine for 232 days (not that I’m counting)?

If you’ve checked all three boxes and you’re sitting at work anxiously today (like, ahem, I am), here are some great distractors:

1, The New York Times Election Distractor: a totally weird and wonderful random collection. Stick around for Good’n’Plenty-related hope for the future and “Michael Barbaro reacts”.

2. Mashable’s Hard Refresh is a column that tries “to reset your brain and cleanse it of whatever terrible thing you just witnessed on Twitter.” Browse the archives, and take a deep breath.

3. is an interactive rain website. Or if rain isn’t your thing, watch one hour of soothing snow fall in a mountain village.

4. Watch a stand-up comedy special. If you don’t have time for a whole special, subscribe to the Netflix is a Daily Joke podcast, which is just one joke, every single day, from one of their stand-up specials.

5. Watch a comfortingly familiar and reliably funny sitcom, like the Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, or Community. Laughing is really good for taming anxiety. Or if you need a new show to watch, here’s a list of the best 30-minute shows to watch right now.

6. Read Nikki Goldman’s advice on how to go from anxious to curious in just 8 minutes.

7. Make a self-care plan for election day and election week.

8. Create virtual sand art.

9. Listen to a weirdly-specific Spotify playlist, such as “lost in the depths of a forest,” “in the Hogwarts Library,” or “curling up in bed as it pours outside.”

10. Take a virtual visit to an aquarium (jellyfish at Monterey Bay, a sea otter in Seattle, the Great Barrier Reef, or a beluga cam from Manitoba.  Watching water creatures swim for even five minutes can temporaily relieve anxiety.

11. Watch potters working with clay. Check out the hashtags #wheelthrowing and #potterywheel on Instagram for thousands of soothing, relaxing, mesmerizing clay action.

12. In a similar vein, search instagram for #alcoholinkvideos or #paintpourvideos. Watching people create flowy art is incredibly relaxing, and maybe you will pick up a new hobby.

13. Build a galaxy (perhaps one in which you get to control election results so your candidate wins?)

14. Watch slow-motion videos of soap bubbles on Stinson Beach is surprisingly calming.

15. Try doing nothing for two-minutes. Unless you meditate regulrly, it’s harder than it sounds!

16. Here is a list of live cams that are actually live any any given moment. I just spent a few minutes with a kitten rescue sanctuary in Los Angeles.

17. Read how a savvy army of K-pop super fans are combatting Q-Anon conspiracy theorists, and have hope for our youth.

18. Go offer to help someone else. Helping other people takes our minds off our own problems. There are lots of ways to help others; I will of course suggest joining one of our free Givitas groups, which make it easy to help someone in less than 5 minutes so you can get right back to biting your nails.

If you don’t feel like listening to me, since I have absolutely zero credentials related to alleviating election-related stress and anxiety, here is what professional therapists say you should do. 

Courage, people! We’re almost there! Wishing you happy, productive, and distracted day.


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