I don’t know about you, but Election Day 2016 left me with a pit of anxiety in my stomach. The way I think of it, there are two things I need to do.
The first is direct action. By this I mean not give up on the causes I care about just because my preferred candidate for president wasn’t elected. There are a million other ways I can make a difference in the world. I want to volunteer to causes I care about (mostly things that help women and children) and donate to groups that do work that I think needs doing.
The second is learn to manage that uncomfortable feeling when I think about the future. Volunteering and donating won’t immediately change anything. And I know I need to feel okay in the interstitial. It’s not tenable for me to spend the next four years (or any amount of time) suffering from anxiety and fear of what I can’t control. I know I need a coping mechanism on top of (but not instead of!) direct action; something to make me feel like I can handle the day to day.
It won’t surprise you that I think running and other endorphins-creating activities are a big part of the solution. In order to cope, I need to be my best self, not a mess.
And remember, you’re not alone. It’s likely you have friends and family who are just as upset and just as nervous about the future as you. Speaking of, I saw these notes (images below)in the 14th Street subway station on my way to work.
I am by no means a therapist (though my sister is, and her practice can help you) but I’ve got to guess that we need a sense of community now more than ever.
Here are a few resources to help you deal with that uncomfortable anxious feeling that comes with “not knowing.”
- NYT: How Exercise Can Help Calm Anxiety
- Harvard Health: Volunteering May Be Good for Body and Mind
- The Atlantic: How to Cope With Post-Election Stress
- Zen Habits: (How to deal with others) Compassion in the Midst of Madness
- NY Mag: Three Ways to Fight Anxiety on a Long and Scary Election Day
- Motto (from Time magazine): 5 Meditation Apps to Help You Relax After the Election
- The Atlantic: How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression
Anyone have any other ideas? Or want to give me a hug? Are you getting involved in your community post-election? How?