Deal with 2020 US election anxiety with these distractions

Between mercury retrograde and the US presidential election, we’re all feeling a bit stressed. There’s no denying that this is one of the most important elections in history (be sure to vote, if you haven’t yet!), but all of this can wreak havoc on our mental health. Instead of stressing over what will be and watching the results trickle in on the news, may we suggest taking some time to tune out and decompress? This list that we’ve compiled of 100 things to do if you’re anxious about the election should help!

Ready to get started? Now, turn off your TV, put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and give some of these distractions a go.

  1. Get familiar with some of last week’s best new music. It really does slap. 
  2. Create a shared playlist on Spotify and ask all the people you love to add a few uplifting songs to it.
  3. Turn it up and dance around your room.
  4. Watch Jane Fonda’s iconic aerobics classes on YouTube. Let her knitted socks, one-piece swimsuits and leg-warmer combos take you back in time to the 80s for an hour.
  5. Prefer something that requires less energy? Discover some of the weirdest beauty tutorials on the internet like geode lips or the condom makeup applicator (yep, it’s a thing!).
  6. Tune in to the magic of #Ceramics TikTok for some weirdly soothing videos of people making clay pots and things. 
  7. Or maybe #DarkAcademia is more your vibe.
  8. #Cottagecore, anyone?
  9. Research volunteering opportunities in your city and mark down the most interesting ones. Contact them to see if they could use some extra help.
  10. See if your state offers same-day volunteering at the polls.
  11. Donate to a bail fund or a community organization of your choosing. Here are a few great places to send your money.
  12. If you’d like to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but you don’t have any money to spare, here’s what you can do. 
  13. If you’re under 18 and unable to vote in this election, pre-register for the next one here.
  14. Then get a head-start and read up on everything you need to know about voting for the first time.
  15. Watch this mesmerizing fluffy tetris video and see everything magically fall into place.
  16. Want to learn something new? Take an online class. MoMa is offering five free online courses that will help you become an art expert in isolation.
  17. Download Duolingo and brush up on your high school French or Spanish lessons.
  18. Watch some films that you wouldn’t normally, you know, the ones that you’ve been avoiding because they’re too demanding, too niche or simply not your thing.
  19. Want to get into Studio Ghibli movies? Here’s the perfect guide to get into Miyazaki’s fantastical creations. 
  20. Binge these creepy K-dramas for an extra dose of scare.
  21. Or try a vintage horror movie or two. 
  22. Learn a poem by heart. 
  23. Are you in lockdown far from your loved ones? Send them an email or a handwritten letter to tell them what everyday life is like without them.
  24. Call your mom. 
  25. Call your grandma. 
  26. Call all your relatives.
  27. Make sure that they are all voting while you’re at it. 
  28. Pick a few new recipes to try this week. Maybe something that qualifies as comfort food.
  29. Call up that one restaurant that you’ve wanted to order from for ages and get takeout.
  30. Watch @decadent_dayne’s weirdly, soothing recipe narrations.
  31. Overwhelmed by the news? Sign up for a link curating service like and receive personal article recommendations.
  32. Throw away that pile of newspapers, magazines and random papers that has been building up in the corner over quarantine. You don’t need them, trust me.
  33. Before throwing everything in the trash though, consider repurposing them into a collage.
  34. In need of some serious wardrobe inspiration? Familiarize yourself with some of our favourite fashion stars and their most iconic outfits.
  35. Or revisit some of the spring/summer 21 collections and plot out your warm weather looks for next year.
  36. Go through your closet and donate anything that you haven’t worn recently.
  37. Pick at least three items to try and sell online. Here’s how to make loads of money on Depop.
  38. Rearrange your underwear drawers. Especially the one with all the mismatched socks.
  39. Love Juliet Johnstone’s hand-painted jeans? Try making a DIY pair of your own, just be sure to follow her expert advice.
  40. Throw all of your masks in the wash to make sure they’re clean. Believe me, you don’t want to risk getting maskne.
  41. If you live with your partner, have sex. If you’re long distance, have phone sex. If you don’t have a partner, take the opportunity to freshen up that Tinder profile.
  42. Delete all the dating apps on your phone. Being alone is okay too.
  43. Explore the idea of ‘reality shifting’ on TikTok.
  44. Give yourself a manicure, do a hair mask or anything else that you consider self-care.
  45. Give Sega Bodega’s guide to self-care a go.
  46. Or try a homemade mask with the miscellaneous items in your kitchen.
  47. Watch this wholesome video of Paul Rudd handing out cookies to early voters in New York.
  48. Write an email to your future self. We are living through a historic moment and you can look back on it when it’s all over.
  49. What’s the best book you’ve read all quarantine? Look up the author’s entire collection of work and dive into a new title.
  50. Or have a look at your personal library and pull out a book that you’ve never managed to read. That way, the next time you’re at the bookstore you can buy a couple new ones without feeling guilty.
  51. On that note, put aside a couple of books you think your friends might like. Maybe even start a book club. 
  52. Plan out the vacation of your dreams, that way when travelling is safe again you’ll be all ready to go. 
  53. For now, here are nine scenic films that are the perfect escape, from Call Me By Your Name to Y Tu Mama Tambien
  54. Clean every washable surface in your home, especially the ones you usually ignore. You will feel better afterwards, it’s science.
  55. Watch these six climate crisis documentaries, immediately.
  56. Write down at least three ways that you can live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
  57. Sign up for a few newsletters and support your favourite writers, and then actually read them when they come through.
  58. In the same spirit, unsubscribe from all those pesky promotional emails that you hate.
  59. Rearrange the furniture in your room. Move the bed, put the carpet somewhere else, go crazy.
  60. Why not try your entire apartment?
  61. If you have a dog, teach him something he can’t do. Fetching a ball won’t cut it.
  62. If you don’t have a dog, look up some of the cute adoptable pups near you and cue the serotonin.
  63. Watch these videos of Bella Hadid grooming her tiny horses.
  64. Go to the park.
  65. Or for a nice, long walk. 
  66. Listen to this soothing playlist that will help ease your anxiety.
  67. Meet up with a few of your friends, in a socially-distanced way, of course. 
  68. Try out this new Grimes-approved app to see if it helps you focus on anything but the election results, duh!
  69. Watch Harry Styles’ new music video, “Golden”, and then read up on Steven Stokey-Daley, the designer behind his billowing shirt and floral trousers. 
  70. If you’re working today, make a ‘to do’ list of all the things you need to accomplish before the day is done. This will help you stay on track. 
  71. If you’re not working, keep working your way through this list of distractions to soothe your election anxiety. 
  72. Here are a number of innocuous, calming shows for you to stream.
  73. Rank your favorites and recommend your top three to a friend. 
  74. Read more about all your favourite queer comedians that blew up during quarantine, from Jordan Firstman to Benny Drama. 
  75. Watch this: @jfirstman’s iconic impersonations of the truth catching up to Trump and the publicist of the fly that landed on Pence’s head at the debate.
  76. Revisit our anti-racist watch list for non-Black allies. 
  77. And the anti-racist reading list.
  78. Request the titles that you haven’t read at your local library.
  79. Look up all of the films that will be released in the next year and add them to your mental watch list.
  80. Host a virtual karaoke night or trivia contest with your friends or family members.  
  81. Reflect on three things that have greatly impacted your life in the last 6 months, and what you’ve learned from each situation. 
  82. Write a note to the person who has helped you get through it all. 
  83. We’ve just had a full moon, a blue moon no less, set an intention for yourself moving forward. 
  84. We could all use a little joy in our lives, why not celebrate Christmas a few months early on TikTok.
  85. Jot down a couple of gift ideas for your loved ones. 
  86. Have a look at your Instagram and delete all of the love-to-hate accounts that cause you stress. 
  87. If you’re not ready to commit, select a few to mute instead.
  88. Set your screen time, for today and everyday, so that you can have a much-needed social media cleanse.
  89. Check out the incredible Election Distractor made by The New York Times
  90. See if the click-to-grow-mushrooms are forageable in your part of town. And read about how shrooms became a salve for our current moment.
  91. Do a YouTube workout to get your blood flowing.
  92. Or one of Ryan Heffington’s Instagram dance classes. 
  93. Want to escape this plane of existence entirely? Listen to Raven Artson’s otherworldly pop music instead. 
  94. Open a Google Doc and share it with all your friends: turn it into a sort of logbook where you can share articles, videos, songs or even just stray thoughts.
  95. Update your resume and portfolio, so the next time you see a job listing that inspires you, you can be the first to apply.
  96. Have some ideas of cool and exciting content that should be on i-D? Familiarize yourself with our ‘How to Pitch’ guide and drop us a line. 
  97. See what else is going on in the world today, we recommend using Google News to filter out all election coverage. 
  98. All your favourite movies just had big anniversaries — Almost Famous, Bring It On, Empire Records — give them a celebratory stream. 
  99. Get back to that writing project that you left off with somewhere between months five and six of the pandemic. Tune out and focus.
  100. Take a deep breath. Or three or four. It will pass soon.

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