Skip to main content

How The Verge is coping with election anxiety

‘Not well.’

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The 2020 presidential election is nearly upon us, and the hours leading up to it are full of unknown, eldritch horrors. The old gods are awakening, and the pollsters are sharpening their needles. 

Or at least it feels that way. Because so many bad things have happened in America this year, every day can feel like navigating a field chock-full of unexploded ordnance — and all there is to do, really, is put on a mask and vote. 

Personally, I feel like I’m T-posing at the end of the world. So I’ve leaned into compiling a playlist of anime fight scenes on YouTube: they’re power fantasies that always end with the good guys winning. It’s been helping a little. 

Many of my colleagues have come up with their own, unique ways to deal with the fact that reality has lately become surreal. Here are a few election coping strategies, from us, your friends at The Verge. Hopefully this gets us through those long hours still ahead. — Bijan Stephen


Barbara Krasnoff: I try to really concentrate on other things — my work, a novel I’m desperately trying to write, and day-to-day concerns. That doesn’t always work. So my partner and I have been watching Safari Live (live feeds from various African wildlife preserves, with commentary), 1930s comedies, humorous mysteries, bad science fiction films, The Queen’s Gambit (wonderful series!), and, of course, The Great British Baking Show — anything that has nothing to do with politics. We haven’t chosen what we’ll watch on Election Day, but it will probably be lightweight, and I’ll have to hide my phone to prevent myself from checking it every five minutes. 

Sarah Smithers: I’ve found that exercising is a good cure for my normal, run-of-the-mill anxiety. And eating refined sugar is a bad cure (but still a cure!) for my pandemic anxiety. So tomorrow I am going to spend a lot of time on my treadmill while also eating 2–8 ice cream sandwiches. 

“Staying the hell away from ‘the needle.’”

Andrew J. Hawkins: I’m coping with the election by making granola, cleaning the kitchen, building Lego sets with my son, and staying the hell away from “the needle.”

Kim Lyons: Since I am weirdly competitive but also hate feeling unproductive, I’ve started using the Duolingo language app to brush up on my Spanish and French. The little green owl nudges me with text alerts when I need to boost my XP to compete with other players. It’s been a much better use of mobile screen time than doomscrolling on Twitter.

Kait Sanchez: My partner and I just had a stressful and prolonged move into a new apartment, so “luckily” I’ve had other stressors to distract me from the election. When I reach my nightly critical mass of unpacking and organizing, I turn to a new routine that’s been keeping me from doomscrolling into the wee hours. I listen to a podcast (usually fiction, but generally anything that’s not political news), and I play many levels of the I Love Hue Too game on my phone. Between the audio stimulation and the need to focus for the puzzles, I’m too absorbed to fall into an anxiety spiral. Unclear what will happen if I ever run out of levels, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Megan Farokhmanesh: I’m coping with the election by eating cake for dinner and listening to Swedish death metal.

Taylor Lyles: My election anxiety consists of me doing a lot of gaming. I mean, I am always gaming outside of work. But lately I have been obsessed with PC gaming.

I built my own gaming PC years ago and am ready to future-proof it for the next generation of gaming. A lot of the PC parts I have in my current rig are not dated by any means, but I just like being ten steps ahead of the industry since new hardware is always coming out on PC. Since the parts in my current rig are mostly going to be swapped out, I plan to recycle those parts and turn them into a separate gaming desktop. I don’t know exactly who it will be for, but I think it would be a fun project to do and it helps ease my stress and keep myself busy during off work hours. 

“I am demanding inane gossip from my friends.”

Nicole Wetsman: I am demanding inane gossip from my friends, spending most of the day under my weighted blanket, and eating this very good cake. These help me manage about 8 percent of my election anxiety and the rest is just…still there.

Adi Robertson: I channeled my pandemic anxiety into prototyping a video game. Now I’ve got election anxiety too! This is surely making me twice as productive. Do not contradict me.

Sean Hollister: Maybe this is perverse, but I’m watching Designated Survivor. Yes, it’s all about political turmoil and disaster, but it’s also a feel-good power fantasy about a non-partisan politician. Imagine that! Also I may or may not have squirreled away a LOT of Halloween candy.

Cameron Faulkner: Distractions are nice, but I’ve learned that the best way for me to deal with my anxiety is to try to face it head-on. You know, think about all of the possible outcomes and try to imagine what the next four years of my life might look like with each one. So, my desk is covered in game controllers and other fun gadgets, but as much as I try to distract myself, I’m just kind of inescapably stuck in the moment. I hope you’re faring better!

Jay Peters: I’ve kept my mind off the election by playing a lot of Hades, the new roguelike from Supergiant Games. Each trek through the Underworld takes my full attention, requiring me to expertly fight against waves of enemies and thoughtfully select which abilities will best aid me in my journey. The game’s brilliantly-done characters draw me into their individual stories, and the more I play, the more I learn about them. And perhaps most importantly, each run only takes 30 to 40 minutes, which is just short enough that I regularly sneak in an extra run (or two) during my daily play sessions.

Sure, playing Hades may not be the most productive use of my time. But the game keeps me from constantly refreshing Twitter or Reddit.

“A whole lot of whiskey.”

Julia Alexander: I’m relying heavily on What We Do in the Shadows marathons, Arrested Development rewatches, and absurd British comedy that makes me feel better about whatever’s going on outside my tiny studio apartment. Also, whiskey. A whole lot of whiskey.

Sophie Erickson: How am I coping with election anxiety? Not well. 

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.