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Listeners On How They Deal With Election-Related Stress

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As we wait for final results from this year's unprecedented elections, let's pause here to take a deep breath. Mary Louise.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

OK, ready.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEEP BREATHING)

CORNISH: Deep breaths from the belly are one proven way to reduce stress. And let's face it, a lot of us are pretty stressed out by this particular election.

KELLY: Truth - and there is data on this. A poll last month from the American Psychological Association found that 68% of Americans were significantly stressed by the election, up from 52% four years ago. So we wanted to know what you all are doing about it.

DOT DANNENBERG: In my house, we're combating election stress mostly by eating all the leftover Halloween candy but also by taking a lot of long walks, which I pretend are because the baby needs them but are really to keep me from grinding my teeth.

CORNISH: That's Dot Dannenberg of Alexandria, Va. A lot of people turn to physical exercise to work out the nervous energy, but we also heard a lot about stress eating and drinking for that matter.

JAY LUNDEEN: I'm getting through the stress of this election by drinking a lot of Manhattans. Oh, boy, I need them.

KELLY: That is Jay Lundeen of Brooklyn, N.Y. Another popular answer was binge-watching TV - comedies like "Schitt's Creek" - that's spelled S-C-H - or competition shows like the "Great British Bake Off." Some people, like Jonny Pickett of Southern California, say they are trying to avoid news and social media altogether.

JONNY PICKETT: I'm going to be trying to just do my best to avoid the Internet. Maybe I'll turn off the Wi-Fi. But, gosh, I'm already - I can't stop thinking about it (laughter).

KELLY: Meanwhile, Bonnie Merchant of Beavercreek, Ore., told us she was staying busy by delivering firewood to Meals on Wheels after a little something to lift her mood.

BONNIE MERCHANT: I'm going to start the day watching Khanyisa, the baby elephant in South Africa, on YouTube. That should burn off a whole lot of stress.

CORNISH: Videos of adorable animals - a tried-and-true strategy. But maybe the most impressive redirection of election stress we heard was from Grace Haley of Washington, D.C., who used her pent-up energy to teach herself a new musical instrument.

GRACE HALEY: I have been so stressed with the elections and decided to pick up an instrument for the first time a few weeks ago, so I've been playing piano every time politics have stressed me out.

CORNISH: She even left us with a little bit of Bach.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRACE HALEY PERFORMANCE OF BACH'S "PRELUDE NO. 1 IN C MAJOR")

KELLY: Johann Sebastian Bach's "Prelude No. 1 In C Major," played by listener Grace Haley, with an assist from the 2020 election season.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRACE HALEY PERFORMANCE OF BACH'S "PRELUDE NO. 1 IN C MAJOR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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