Even if you don’t typically suffer from anxiety, this year has been anything but ordinary. There’s a global pandemic, increased wildfires, and, to round it out, one of the most divisive elections in years. And with Election Day less than 2 weeks away, it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed by the world right now, regardless of your political leanings.
In fact, election stress disorder is a real thing. While it’s not a medical diagnosis, the term is an all-encompassing way to summarize the feelings of stress and anxiety a person feels about a political election. Publicly coined in 2016, it can affect everything from sleep to your general mood. And while experts previously recommended a few actions sufferers can take—like setting discussion boundaries and seeking out apolitical activities—Health’s team also has a few go-to ways to squash election anxiety.
From CBD oil to meditation, our team has found a variety of products to ease our minds this election cycle. Because coping mechanisms vary by person—some prefer a relaxing evening in a bubble bath, while others like to punch it out—we asked a variety of our editors and writers for the lowdown on what soothes their soul.
Below, the 10 items Health’s team relies on to tackle election stress and anxiety.
“I carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders (you know, from hunching over my laptop, stressing out over the news), so this is a really nice way to relieve some of that pressure. I also exercise a lot (again, stress relief) and it’s nice to massage out tight muscles afterwards. And it’s heated, which just adds another level of ahhh.”—Amber Brenza, senior editor
“Watching the news has been stressful recently. (Last week, I noticed how stiff my posture was while watching CNN.) Enter: The guided meditation sessions of the FitBit Versa 3, which force me to be still, breathe, and relax for a whole 2 minutes even when the news has my heart rate going up.”—Maggie O’Neill, assistant editor
“I’ve always felt a little weird about CBD products. It has nothing to do with cannabis, but rather the lack of regulation in the CBD market. That’s why I felt comfortable trying out Highline Wellness’ products: They test everything and actually share the results with consumers. And I’m so glad I did. Not only am I obsessed with their CBD relief roller—it’s a great go-to for calming stress and soothing headaches— but their lineup is filled with so many options, like gummies and topicals. I’ve found the fastest way to chill out is with their CBD Ools. They come in 2 delicious flavors—citrus and mint—and can even be put into a cocktail, which I’ll definitely be consuming on November 3.”—Braelyn Wood, health & wellness e-commerce writer
“I have 2 healthy-ish items in my anxiety arsenal (besides my prescriptions): This Belmint Deep Kneading Neck Massager has taken residence on a spare chair in my living room. When the kids are finally tucked into bed, I tuck myself into this shoulder and neck massager to work out all the tension that has built up over a day working at my dining room table. It’s also a decent replacement for the massages I’m not getting in person anymore. After 15 minutes of this and an hour of The Vow or Real Housewives, my muscles feel looser.
Then, when it’s time for bed, the first thing I do is put a heating pad on the high setting and jump in. It’s like lying in a warm bath without the wetness, and I can’t fall asleep without it anymore. It relaxes my neck down to my lumbar and adds a layer of warmth that bedding can’t provide. Bonus: It automatically shuts down so you don’t have to worry about falling asleep with it on, as I do every single night.”—Dara Kapoor, executive digital editor
“I have been obsessed with Obé Fitness as a stress reliever lately. I completely zone out to one or two classes every day and I love how they have a workout to suit every mood: cardio boxing when I’m feeling feisty, yoga when I need to relax, and dance HIIT when I need to forget all about 2020! The program uses minimal equipment, but some of my favorite classes use a resistance band for ‘leveling up,’ and I’ve been loving this set.”— Rachel Crocetti, SEO manager
“Meditation and a good night’s sleep have always been my coping strategies to manage anxiety—and these headphones have helped a lot. For years, I used earplugs and a blindfold to sleep, but I would often wake up missing one or both. This mask-and-headphone mashup is not only more likely to stay on all night, but also has good sound quality for the price. The fabrics are super soft, and you get full blackout coverage without too much pressure on the eyes. It’s also perfect for meditating because it makes it easier to immerse yourself fully into a meditative state.”—Alex Sandoval, photo editor
“Now that I’m working from my apartment all day, I find that it’s even more important to have a ritual that helps me wind down at night. Lately, I’ve been firing up my Canopy Humidifier, which diffuses essential oil (my go-to is lavender!) and curling up with a hot cup of tea while enjoying the aromatherapy. It’s a great way to signal that it’s time to relax and let the stress of the day melt away.”—Rebecca Shinners, senior social media editor
“Let’s face it, hitting things is kind of cathartic—and that’s not a bad thing to have these days. I’ve been a big fan of working the heavy bag ever since I set one up in my garage as my main cardio option, but after a lifetime of Rocky training montages, I’ve always wanted to learn how to hit a speed bag. It ended up being much more meditative than I ever expected—tracking the bounces and rebounds, timing the next hit, right, right, left, left, repeat. There’s a trick to getting the rhythm down, and I’m still working on it, but I love the combination of punch-fueled catharsis and mind-clearing focus.”—Rob Tutton, digital producer
“I think we could all use a hot stone massage right about now, but that’s not the safest way to de-stress. So I’ve been turning to the next best thing: This bodywork set from Wildling. It feels like a luxurious mini massage and actually helps to release tight muscles when I’m feeling tense. The best part? I can pull out these products whenever I need a breather from the news—no appointment required.”—Lauren Witonsky, social media assistant
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