How to Recover From the 2016 Presidential Election
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.