Polls. All day long, I check polls. I wake up and look for new poll numbers. At night, I review poll numbers. Last night, I woke up to pee at 3 AM and had to tell myself I wasn’t allowed to grab my phone and see any poll numbers.
I read aggregator sites like 538 and Benchmark Politics. I chase poll results down Twitter rabbit holes. I try to identify poll trends. I look at margins of error. I question polling methodology. A voice in my head screams, “You know nothing about polling methodology! You have a bachelors degree in acting! You spent college memorizing Sondheim lyrics!” Then another voice says, “Shut up. I got a masters in public policy. So what if I didn’t take statistics classes? It still counts for something.”
Polls, polls, polls.
With four and a half days left before this election ends once and for all, I am probably not alone in my obsession with polls. And I’m probably not the first to admit that this is not a healthy way to be living. I’m now actively making a plan to get through the last days of the 2016 campaign without driving myself mad. I’ve come up with a few key self-care strategies and I hope you’ll join me in stepping away from the polls and back into calm headspace:
First, cute animals. My happy place is the dog park because it’s filled with dogs and people who only want to talk about dogs. Bonding with a 170 lb Great Dane and his nice owner about how much 170 lb dogs eat is amazingly restorative. And petting animals is good for anyone’s blood pressure. When I can’t get to real animals, I scroll through We Rate Dogs and Cute Emergency on Twitter. Virtual animals are almost as good as the real thing.
Next, I get outside (if I'm not already at the dog park!). Fall weather is my absolute favorite, so it’s easy to go out for a walk or a run in the woods. The leaves drift to the ground, the squirrels frolic past, the fresh air fills my lungs, and I feel the tension drift away.
Finally, I read. I read books that have nothing to do with politics. In the past month, I’ve devoured the Miss Peregrine series, a memoir of a sex addict called Love Sick, three short collections of Harry Potter universe writing from the Pottermore site, and I’m starting on Joan Rivers’ last book. Escapism? You betcha!
We’re all going to get through these next few days, one way or another. The polls won’t change anything. But maybe snuggling with a kitty or going for a nice walk will make it easier to bear. Hang in there, friends. We’re all in this together.