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Election anxiety is real? IG creatives give us tips on how to deal

The 2020-election is stirring up a whole lot of anxiety across the nation and people are in need of tips to help cope…

The dishwasher in Jessi Olarsch’s apartment broke last week. Olarsch, an oil portrait painter based in Philadelphia, didn’t expect the broken appliance to occupy her thought as much as it did. 

But it has. So much so, that it began to influence her art. “We all lost our minds over this dishwasher incident,” she said. “So I painted a bunch of angry, fast-motion chaotic pieces of the dishwasher and the kitchen and just like the chaos of the scene.”

Why, might you ask did the broken dishwasher create such intense feelings? “The election,” says Olarsch.

Need tips? The truth about election anxiety…

“We all just got super upset about it because we have voted already, and we can’t control the results of the election any more than we currently are, and we needed something to think about.” 

Jessi Olarsch
election anxiety
via Jessi Olarsch

Olarsch is far from the only person experiencing increased tension and stress around the currently still undecided election. With a stressful campaign period, election day, and week, many have reported feeling increased anxiety.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association “more than two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life.” Google searches for the combination “election” and “anxiety” have skyrocketed in the last few days.

The hashtag “electionanxiety” has more than nine thousand posts on Instagram of which most were created in the last six days. The posts range from infographics on how to deal with anxiety to selfies of anxious voters.

We’re right in the middle of it…

Kulture Hub reached out to creatives on the platform to see if they had any tips on how to cope with the ongoing election anxiety and the stress of the current political situation. 

Jessi Olarsch, whose art previously wasn’t overtly political, started a “painting-a-day” project recently to explore new mediums and loosen her hand a little bit. While she didn’t set out to paint about the election, she noticed it happening anyway.

“As we got closer and closer to the election, [the painting] was just getting imbued with [election-related thoughts], and my work kind of became a little more political in general.” 

Jessi Olarsch

Part of this new project was painting on found materials.

“I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is one of the most important swing states. We’ve been getting a ton of mail from both the republicans and the democrats asking us to vote for their candidate (..) to the point where it’s piling and piling up in our house for the past three months,” Olarsch said.

Using what is around you

“So, I’ve been collecting it and working on top of that, which has been super enlightening for my practice.”

Jessi Olarsch

Olarsch said that nothing in the paintings is explicitly about the election but the anxiety during this time that drove her creatively.

“It’s the anxiety about it all that drives the creative process and the way the brushstrokes are violently moving across the page.”

Jessi Olarsch

The dishwasher series is definitely not just about the dishwasher, Olarsch said. Instead, “it’s about politics and feeling like I’m not in control.”

Into the unknown

Natalie Dupille is a cartoonist, illustrator, and writer based in Seattle. She describes her work as “slightly whimsical, definitely neurotic, and humorous.” It’s often autobiographical and when for publications, it often revolves around current events.

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A post shared by Natalie Dupille (she/her) (@nataliekdupille) on

Dupille has experienced a great feeling of the unknown around the election.

“We don’t know what will happen if either candidate wins and it just seems like there’s this incredible divide through this country that I have no idea how it will merge back to any type of union.”

Natalie Dupille

She recently wrote an article for the LA times exploring politicized emergency preparedness and what this divide might mean for those in need of tips on how to deal with election anxiety.

Not only has Dupille’s public-facing art been influenced by US politics and current events but so has her more personal art.

“The personal is very political and I think this presidency especially has shown many of us that so many aspects of our identities, of our life’s, are not protected from government hostility or societal hostility,” Dupille said.

“And I think that that definitely comes through in my cartoons.”

Since her work has always reflected current events, she doesn’t directly feel like her cartoons have changed because of the election but it has made her branch out more.

More election anxiety tips… Channel that negative energy through different mediums

“Somedays when I don’t feel like drawing, I just need to write all of my thoughts down, and I have been channeling that into more creative writing whether that’s an op-ed or a personal narrative.” 

Natalie Dupille

Jess Goldsmith, artist and curator of Instagram page @womenoftype, has also experienced election anxious. “I do my best to stay informed without completely depleting my mental health in the process,” she said.

“The anxiety of it manifests emotionally and physically. It hasn’t been a fun time for anyone.”

Jess Goldsmith

Most of what Goldsmith reposts on her IG page Women of Type is political in some way.

“I find that a lot of typography and lettering artists express their hopes, wishes, fears, and anxieties of certain government policies in their work…”

Jess Goldsmith

She continued, “which not only makes for excellent and relevant content but helps to promote worthy causes in a creative and educational way.”

The work is geared towards promoting human rights and “equality for the black community, LGBTQ+ community, transgender rights, antisemitism, women’s equality, and wage gaps, the rights of indigenous people.” 

In her own art, Goldsmith has also been involved in the election.

Making a creative impact is always a good way to defeat that election anxiety

“I’ve worked with LinkNYC and the Public Square Project to create signage to promote people to actually get out there and vote,” Goldsmith explained.

The sign, a poster that reads ‘NYC mail in your Vote Vote Vote’, is a clear example of Goldsmith’s fun, colorful, and bold designs. 

The election and the anxiety surrounding it has also influenced the type of art Goldsmith wants to make. “I really do try to create work that will put a smile on people’s faces especially for what I post on social media,” Goldsmith said.

One of the most important tips when it comes to dealing with election anxiety: Beware of the doom scroll!

“We’re all doom scrolling, and if something I make can give someone a tiny break from panic, that’s a win.”

Jess Goldsmith