It’s been a week since the end of a very shocking election outcome — regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on. The protests, the media coverage, the social posts — it can all be so overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know whether I should crawl into a hole and hide or just act like everything’s peachy. I don’t think either is the answer.
We have to come to terms with the fact that, yes, the aftermath of this election is scary for everybody. But we can’t let it keep us from functioning as a humane society. And we sure as hell can’t let it interfere with our personal lives, especially relationships. The last thing we want to happen is to lose relationships over this. That in and of itself is enough to cause some serious anxiety.
While you may want to just curl up in a blanket for the next few months and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy (personal fave) over and over again, it’s not healthy. Instead, check out these nine ways to channel that negative energy into some positive.
1. Step away from the social media.
It is practically impossible to log on to any social media nowadays without seeing political posts. Hell, they’re even all over LinkedIn. And while generally, most of the posts may skew towards your perspective — because you generally surround yourself with people who share the same viewpoints — that’s not always the case (especially when it comes to family).
And sadly, sometimes, your friends who do share the same viewpoints, can be the biggest cause of the stress. Why? They’re only reminding you on a constant basis of why you should be so angry.
Just take a step back and limit yourself to viewing social media one time a day. You’d be surprised how wonderful it feels to step out of that bubble.
2. Put it all into perspective.
I’m sure we have all sat here and thought about the worst possible thing that could happen based on the election results. But hold on a sec, this country is not about to let 50 years of progress go down the drain. A single person is not about to overrule hundreds of millions of people. It’s just not going to happen.
Remember, you have far more power than you realize. Midterm elections are just two years away.
3. Turn your focus elsewhere.
What’s your favorite thing to do? Take a walk in the park? Do it. Read? Do it. Write? Do it. Whatever it is that takes you into another world, do it. Don’t sit and sulk, and if you do, at least give yourself a time limit. During these times, it’s easy to feel like we’re being selfish if we’re doing something that seems so “useless” compared to what’s going on in the country. But that stress you feel from not having an outlet will only manifest itself in harmful and negative ways.
4. Spread positive vibes.
How nice is it when a complete stranger walks by you, smiles, and asks how you are? Or the woman at the local coffee shop strikes up a conversation about how your day is going? Be that person that brightens someones day. It’s contagious.
5. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
This includes everything from a mani and pedi to important, basic health needs: eating well, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and staying physically active. Keep your routine in check. You still deserve to make yourself a priority.
6. Avoid isolation.
With all the irritability, conflict can quickly develop between people. Collective trauma like this has a huge impact on people’s relationships. To prevent this, strengthen your connections with family, communities and organizations you belong to. Check on those you love and see how they’re doing. Maybe even a host a gathering where everyone can socialize in a positive environment.
7. Don’t focus on “what could have been.”
It’s easy to fall into the trap that psychologists call “counterfactual regret”— where you think of all the ways the outcome could have been prevented and how different the world would be. Fact is, this doesn’t do much if your goal is to move forward. Accept the reality, decide what you are going to do to protect the things most important to you and finally, take action.
8. Take action.
There are so many ways to get involved whether that’s getting civically engaged, becoming a teacher, running for office, protesting, writing, doing charity work or just being there for those you love. Do whatever makes you feel like you are working towards the change you want to see. This is not the time to sit back and just watch bad things happen.
How have the election results affected you? —Erika