Election anxiety being felt in high stakes 2020 Election

The last few months of 2020 were anticipated to be some of the most challenging from a Covid-19 disaster recovery perspective, and health experts say feeling anxious about the presidential election is a normal reaction.

“We know that 2020 has just been this incredible time where the next stressor keeps hitting before we have any chance to recover,” said Anne Browning, Dean of Wellness at UW School of Medicine. “I’ve debriefed with a lot of colleagues who have used the term ‘doom-scrolling,’ where you just find yourself on a device and you’re stuck on it.”

Browning said to turn off notifications on your phone and choose when you’d like to engage with it.

Kelly and Tony Battelle of West Seattle said they’ve confided in trusted family and friends about their anxieties about this election. The couple said the 2016 presidential election was intense, but nowhere near the heightened stakes of this election.

“I’m kind of ready to rip the band aid and see what happens,” said Kelly. “I think of people already stressed about the pandemic and the effects of that on their families and well-beings and the elections adding more stress.”

“No matter who wins I think there will be some unrest so I’m a little scared,” said Tony. “We’ll probably see the largest turnout in our lifetime.”

On Sunday, three high school students who are still too young to vote were passing out “I Voted” stickers and telling voters to text three friends to vote by the West Seattle Junction ballot drop box.

“Our generation, we are like the future. In the end, we will be affected by the decisions made and I think it is really scary, especially not being able to vote,” said Anika Pettinger.

“There’s a lot going on in our world. I think that voting, depending on whoever you vote on you know, it depends on what will happen moving forward in our country,” said Sylvie Gliko.

“The two candidates have such differing views on climate change and their plan to tackle it so it’s just really important to vote because it will affect the future for many, many years ahead,” said Johanna Duncan.

Browning recommends going outside as much as possible, taking deep breaths, exercising and stepping away from the things that are out of our control.