Election day is behind us and people across America and the world are processing the outcome. Many celebrated. Many did not. There are a lot of feelings following this election. Anger, sadness, confusion, disappointment, maybe even regret. We cannot control how we feel; what we can control is how we respond to those feelings.
At times like these, self-care is important. We’ve compiled a list of activities that we hope will help get you through today and the days, weeks, and even years to come.
If you have any tips of your own, we’d love to hear from you! Post them in the comments!
1. Talk it out.
Sometimes the best way to process difficult situations is to talk through them. If you feel like you simply need to “debrief” what has happened or talk through how you are feeling about it, reach out to friends and family. Be sure you choose people you can trust and who you know will offer a listening ear, encouragement, and support. Now is not the time to get into debates or attempt to “convert” anyone to opposing views. This is about debriefing with those who you love and who love you.
2. Take a minute to breathe.
Breathing is important and can help both your mind and body relax. Take a few minutes to focus on some deep breathing. This GIF is an excellent guide on how to breathe properly to relax. We also recommend the app Stop, Breathe, & Think.
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3. Temporarily “unfollow” people.
If there are specific people in your social media circles who are posting content that aggravates the pain, anger, or anxiety, there is nothing wrong with temporarily (or permanently) unfollowing them. You can unfollow people on Facebook without unfriending them by going to their profile and deselecting “Follow” or by clicking the arrow in the top right of any of their posts in your feed and selecting “unfollow.” For other networks such as Twitter or Instagram, you will have to unfollow them and then refollow in the future if you want to.
4. Let it out.
Cry. Scream. Yell. Sob. Do whatever you need to do. Your emotions are not “wrong” and you have the right to feel them and you owe it to yourself to express them in a healthy way. Just remember when you are letting out your emotions to not do it as an attack on yourself or others. Healthy outlets are the way to go.
5. Write it out.
If you feel as though you are overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions and they are fogging up your mind, putting pen to paper can really help. Writing stream of consciousness can help clear out your mind. In addition, writing letters to people who have hurt you, those who have passed on who you wish were there to comfort you, or even anonymous strangers can give a sense of peace and closure.
Exercise can be an excellent way to let out overwhelming emotions. Go for a brisk walk or a run. Hit the punching bag, or lift some weights, walk the dog or play tennis with a friend. Note: if you struggle with compulsive exercise, put a time limit on your workout so you aren’t triggered back into unhealthy behaviours or avoid this suggestion entirely.
7. Make an appointment with a counselor.
If the election results are triggering your anxiety or depression, or affecting your mental health in any way that is of concern, make an appointment with a therapist/counsellor right away. There is no shame in this, and even if you have to wait before you can get in, there will still be lots to talk about once you are there and having the appointment set in and of itself can bring peace of mind.
You don’t have to be an official “yogi” to benefit from a yoga class or session at home. Find a drop-in studio or fitness centre and take an hour to relax your body and your mind. There are also many online yoga routines if you want to try it at home.
9. Create a gratitude list.
Focusing on the good when times are hard is an excellent way to self-care. Create a list of things you are grateful for or things in the world that are good. Never underestimate the power of focusing your mind on the positive.
10. Dive into something creative.
Find a creative activity and dive into it. Draw, paint, colour, build something, whatever you enjoy that puts your mind at rest and brings on a sense of calm.
11. Enjoy your favourite hobby.
Hobbies are a great way to focus on the good and bring some peace and joy. Don’t have a hobby? Find one! Try something new that you’ve always wanted to do.
12. Take in some fun/positive media.
Sometimes we just need a little escapeism and there is nothing wrong with that. Throw on your favourite Netflix show, grab a Disney movie and some popcorn, or watch some stand-up comedy. All of these things are good for the soul and will help take your mind away from negative thoughts.
13. Do good and give back.
A lot of hate surrounded this election and many people were victimized and outcast. Sometimes sitting back and feeling hopeless is the worst feeling of all. The good news is, things are not hopeless and you can do something about it! Find some local organizations who are doing good in your area and volunteer with them. Be part of the change. Sometimes the best way to respond to a problem that is out of your control is to become part of a related solution. After all, love trumps hate. Just remember to avoid emotional burnout, to also take time for yourself and do some of the other tings suggested in this article, too.
14. Animal therapy.
Animals our emotionally sensitive and can bring immediate joy and comfort. Take your dog for a walk or cuddle your kitty. Play with your hamster or watch your fish. Don’t have any pets? Ask a friend who does if you can come over for some cuddly company or go to a local pet store or shelter (if they allow visitors).
15. Retail therapy.
There is nothing wrong with a little retail therapy if it’s done in moderation. Buying a new pair of shoes, or a book, or a video game can lift the mood and be a healthy distraction. Just remember not to take it overboard and allow a simple activity to turn into a compulsive shopping trip–set a spending limit and stick with it.
16. Enjoy the little things.
Watch the sunset tonight, buy your favourite chocolate bar or candy, order in your favourite take-out. Anything that brings even the smallest amount of happiness will go a long way to caring for yourself.
17. Visit nature.
Experiencing nature is one of the best ways to take us away from our stresses and anxieties and focus on the beauty that surrounds us and that is our world. Take a walk or go for a drive and find somewhere that feels “away” from it all. Visit a waterfall or a forest. Go somewhere with ducks or birds you can watch. It doesn’t have to be far away, it just has to remind you there is still beauty in the natural world. Remember: be smart and stay safe. Take a friend or friends along if necessary.
18. Have a laugh.
Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. Watching or listening to comedy, having your dog do funny tricks, playing with children, or enjoying a fun Board Game or group Mario Kart session can all make things feel easier to manage.
19. Get out of bed and spend time with people.
It may go without saying, but don’t stay in bed all day. Things are rough and it’s difficult to process, but isolation is only good in small quantities. Take time for yourself, yes, but also balance that by spending time with others. Even if you don’t talk about the situation or how you’re feeling, simply being in the company of others can help. Note: this is particularly important if you are feeling triggered and/or are fearing a relapse.
20. Take a break from social media.
There is a lot of conversation out there and often reading through it all can do more harm than good. If every time you open your Facebook feed or check in with Twitter or scroll through Instagram you feel more depressed/angry/hurt, then take a break from social media. Even if it’s just for a few hours or a single day, taking time to shut it out can be important, especially if you find what you are seeing is triggering negative thoughts.
You are not alone. There are millions of people going through this, and although everyone’s experiences are different, we are still all here, spinning on this great earth, and hope is never lost.
If you have any tips of your own, we’d love to hear from you! Post them in the comments!
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