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Some alternatives to doomscrolling

Satire by

Hey, you! Yeah, I’m talking to you — the person doomscrolling through Twitter, obsessively retweeting articles about rising COVID-19 cases? The person who just wrote a 50-tweet-long thread that got three likes in total comparing 2020 to the pre-Civil War period and is currently hyperventilating into a paper bag? The person who’s telling everyone they know that everything going on is NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL, GUYS, and EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY, OKAY? 

Yeah, you. I know you’re anxious. I am, too! What, do you think I’m not refreshing my feed every 15 seconds? But this isn’t productive. All we’re doing is heightening our levels of anxiety until we become condensed balls of matter that will collectively fuse by the end of this week and then explode into pure, blinding light. 

We need to do something else, and I, for one, have an idea. I’ve compiled a list of things to do that are just a little less anxiety-inducing than doomscrolling to keep you relatively calm for an indeterminable period of time — either the next two days, or, you know, the next three months.

Whoops. That was anxiety-inducing, right? Right, don’t talk about coronavirus, don’t think about shopkeepers boarding up their stores in D.C., don’t bite your nails all the way down to tiny little stubs! Just read this goddamned list. 

  1. Listen to the sound of nails inching their way down an old chalkboard on repeat. 

Is it grating? Yes. Is it incredibly annoying? Yes. Does it make you nervous? Yes. Does it still make you less anxious than scrolling through Twitter? Also yes.

  1. Watch a jump-scare compilation on YouTube.

The protagonist is in the basement. She has no phone. The killer is right behind her. You see the shadow inching its way towards her, slowly but steadily. Your heart is racing. And you’re still less anxious than you would be if you decided to search up a graph of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

  1. Write down that you have a CHEM 31M exam, forget about it until 20 minutes before midnight, and then decide to not study because you don’t know the material anyway.

Yeah, when you open Canvas, your heart will drop all the way down into your stomach, but this will be less nerve-wracking than following CNN on Twitter.

  1. Don’t do the reading for any of your classes, turn off your Zoom camera, and get called on by the professor anyway.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. On the bright side, fumbling your way through an answer that ostensibly connects Freudian psychology to Plato’s “Republic” in front of 11 classmates that definitely did do the reading is still more relaxing than reading think pieces about unemployment.

  1. Do something productive with your time.

This one is probably the most effective. Write that paper you’ve been putting off for three weeks, hand in your problem sets and hop on a Zoom with your friends. Just resist the urge to scream every time someone asks you, “Hey, did you see what’s trending on Twitter?”

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.

Contact Kathryn Zheng at kszheng ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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Kathryn Zheng ’24 is from Tenafly, New Jersey. She plans to major in International Relations and currently writes for News and Satire.