How to Recover From the 2016 Presidential Election

Updated on December 23, 2017
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant.

Beautiful Sunny Day in the Park
Beautiful Sunny Day in the Park

Tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow

As I write this, mere hours remain before we know the results of the most divisive, caustic, and downright disgusting election I have ever witnessed in my life. Still, I know that tomorrow will come, and unless some tragedy befalls me, I will still be here to wake, and begin a new day.

I have decided that I need to get my thoughts down now, before the election returns begin to roll in. This is so I can make it clear that my intent is not partisan, but humanitarian in nature. Regardless of who you are voting for, or even if you are voting or not, we are all going to need to chart a course forward. This is my first step in that direction.


I have found that life is a series of changes. To live and breathe is to accept the fact that nothing stays the same. It is also true that we can control a very small portion of the changes going on around us. Some changes we can only influence, and others are completely out of our control.

The results of this election fall towards the end of the spectrum. We, as voters, and some of us as writers, can exert just a tiny influence over the outcome of this election. Once we vote, and express our opinions, and perhaps even donate some of our hard earned money, we are relegated to simply watching and waiting.

I don't know about you, but this last week has caused me more stress than a job interview and relocation wrapped up together. Now it's time to recognize this, and take steps in a more positive direction.

Bad Ways to Cope

We all have strategies for dealing with short term stress. Wine. Chocolate. Binge watching Netflix with a pint of ice cream. These are just a few of many that spring to mind. None of them are going to help in the long run, and may even harm us.

Also, yelling obscenities at the TV screen is equally unproductive. Worse still would be yelling obscenities at someone with an opposing viewpoint. That ship has sailed.

Good Ways to Cope

There are, of course, many good ways of coping with stressful change. Here are just a few of my personal favorites.

1. Take a walk. Yes, I mean a literal walk. As long and as far as you are able. Take along a friend (if you tend to be more sociable), or go alone/with your dog if you prefer quiet. Breathe in deeply. Leave the ear buds at home. Listen for the birds, the wind, swings swaying in the distance. Life goes on. Although it may seem overwhelming now, this too shall pass.

2. Write your gratitude list. Don't stop until you have at least ten things. It can be as simple as being happy about a new movie coming out you want to see, or as complicated as finding the perfect house to buy. You can even list the end of the campaign on this list. But only once!

3. Start something new. You are going to need something to do with all of your newly found time, now that the election is no longer distracting you. Start reading a new book. Sign up for an online class. Start a scrapbook or recipe book. Get a sketch pad, and rediscover your artistic side. The possibilities are limitless.

4. Write down what is really bothering you about the election. Is it because you fear what a new President might do to our country, or have you gotten so wrapped up in seeing "your" candidate win, that any other outcome is unthinkable? Just remember, about half the population thinks the exact opposite of you. You can't ALL be wrong.

5. Pet a dog. Or a cat. Or just about anything warm, gentle, and furry. You will be amazed how much better you feel after just a few minutes.

6. Pray. Or if you are not religious, then meditate. Get in touch with your deepest thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams. I think you will realize how small this election is, in the cosmic scheme of things.

What is Your Plan?

These are just a few of my thoughts. I have to tell you, I feel just a little bit better writing this article. I have to go and pet my dog now. In the meantime, I would love to read about your coping techniques in the comments below.

Are you feeling stress about this Presidential election?

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  • Carolyn M Fields profile image

    Carolyn Fields 17 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks for your comment DreamerMeg. I have heard a lot of reconciliation and calls for keeping an open mind today. I am encouraged.

  • DreamerMeg profile image

    DreamerMeg 17 months ago from Northern Ireland

    It's important to remember that life goes on and there will be another election in 4 years' time.

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Funny you say you'll be thinking of me at lunch because I am bringing a copy of your hub for everyone to read! LOL

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image

    Carolyn Fields 17 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks Shyron. We all need to rediscover our humanity.

  • Shyron E Shenko profile image

    Shyron E Shenko 17 months ago from Texas

    Carolyn, I am sad that Donald Trump is leading. Your hub is fantastic, this has been the most agitating election I have ever witnessed.

    Blessings my friend.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image

    Carolyn Fields 17 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Thanks Paula. I will be thinking of you at lunch tomorrow. Hope you have a great time. Sounds like a wonderful idea.

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Carolyn...Yes, my dear fellow writer, you have written a very calming, sensible and helpful formula for dealing with election aftermath.

    Everything you have said is truly the best way to handle whatever sort of emotions we might feel. The fact that we simply cannot control specific situations is an undeniable fact.

    Because I began thinking about this already a couple of weeks ago, I made plans with some friends to meet for lunch tomorrow. We've decided to each have a LIMIT of 5 minutes to convey our thoughts (civilly) LOL....and when we've all spoken, we promise not one more word on politics! I figure this should work out well. We'll purge our happiness or disappointment among friends...and then get on with our usual way of life. I'm terribly pro-active!

    The group showing up for lunch by the way is quite a mixture of Dems, Repubs, Conserv. & Independents. The only spot we're missing is Libertarian...& honestly, I'm not sure what the Green Party is. Are you up on that??

    Thanks for a terrific read, Carolyn. Peace, Paula