Whether you're already involved in activist communities or have only recently started to look for ways to get involved in the government and politics, you've likely heard the advice to call your representatives in order to express your opinion on the issues that matter to you the most. Of course, if you suffer from anxiety or are just generally shy or introverted, calling someone feels like a nightmare. Luckily, there are a few tricks, tips, and strategies you can employ to make it easier to call your representatives and make your voice heard — in spite of your deeply rooted hatred of the phone.
First, though, it's worth noting that you don't have to do anything that might be damaging to your mental health. Seriously: If you truly feel that the phone is not right for you, that's OK! The same goes if you're unable to use a phone for any other reason. You can also email your representatives, donate time or money to causes you believe in, or lend a listening ear to those particularly impacted or worried about the current administration. While getting involved is important, it's ultimately up to you decide what is worth a challenge and what is not worth the risk of having some long-term damage to your mental health.
That said, if you are able to use the phone, it's often the most effective way to get in touch with the politicians who represent you at all levels of government. As Emily Ellsworth, who worked for Congress for six years, wrote in a series of tweets following the 2016 election, "The most effective thing is to actually call them on the phone. At their district (state) office. They have to talk to you there." Elaborated Ellsworth:
But, phone calls! That was a thing that shook up our office from time. One time, a radio host gave out our district office phone [number] on air. He was against our immigration policy and told our constituents to call. And they did. All. Day. Long. All I did all day was answer phones. If we started getting a pattern of calls, I called up our DC office and asked if they were getting the same calls and we talked. It was exhausting and you can bet my bosses heard about it. We had discussions because of that call to action.
So, for people who are considering calling their representatives but are anxious about the phone, these techniques are a great starting place. And remember: While more calls is ideal, even just one can make a difference.