Upset about the Election Results? Take Action.

Late last Tuesday evening, when it became very clear that Hillary Clinton was not going to be elected president, I was completely caught off guard. I realize, now, I had a blind spot about what nearly half of the people in this country think is good and right and reasonable. If I had been more aware, I might have been able to prepare myself for a possible defeat. But I was in complete denial, and so when Donald Trump was elected, it wasn’t just disappointing, it was a terrible shock.

Over the past several days since November 8, I have done all kinds of mental health exercises to try to stay calm, sane and, most importantly, hopeful. But I’ve also let myself grieve… and this is what it has looked like for me:

Practicing “extreme” self care including: giving myself the opportunity to really rest and sleep (as much a possible), exercising, meditating, eating well, limiting my consumption of alcohol and sugar, drinking coffee (because I love it which outweighs any problems of being too amped up).

Being open to having conversations with supportive people. Much like after 9/11 (irony duly noted), I’ve noticed an openess and friendliness with friends and neighbors and strangers alike. People are proactively reaching out to one another, both unexpectedly and intentionally, to offer compassion and just to talk. At least for me, talking with like-minded people has been helpful in beginning to process the loss. And it creates a sense of connection – which has always been hugely important for me.

Being mentally gentle with myself and others. This is a time for compassion and empathy for ourselves and others who are feeling the sting of defeat and the fear of an unknown future. Just noticing your thoughts and feelings – and naming them – can be a very helpful first step. Showing random kindness to another person is another way to do something proactive and loving. Incidentally, when we do something kind for someone else, not only do we and the recipient benefit, but anyone who witnesses the gesture also benefits. Cool.

Practicing gratitude. It is my firmly held belief that here is no time better to practice gratitude than when I am feeling scared or sad. Making a list of what I am grateful for is not going to take away my pain or grief, but it will draw my attention – for at least a moment – to the good in my life. And that is empowering which brings me to the fifth and final thing on my list…

Taking action. There are already so many ways we can immediately start to take action to mitigate some of the immediate and impending results of this election. Below are just a few that spoke to me, personally. And here is a list in case you are looking for even more ways…

    1. Get involved with the Emerge training program. Emerge is a unique opportunity for Democratic women who want to run for public office. It is the only in-depth, seven-month, 70-hour, training program that inspires candidates to run and gives them the tools to win. Program members are exposed to a variety of campaign and election experts. They meet an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office. Through Emerge, future political candidates are given specific opportunities to expand their political network, and they become a part of a supportive network which includes a national network of Emerge alumnae, Emerge board and advisory council members. P.S. There are many ways to be involved in Emerge’s cause even if you do not want to run for office, yourself.
    2. Support young people of America by joining The Future Project, an organization that helps students build future projects that change their schools and world. Working with “Dream Directors” (part social entrepreneur, part community organizer, part transformative coach), students are guided through The Dreamer’s Journey—the process of discovering a dream that lights them on fire and then build Future Project that brings it to life. Dream Directors provide coaching, offer courses, and apply culture-change techniques to create impact on two levels: building will and skill in students and improving the culture of the school.
    3. Make contributions to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center.
    4. Join an organization that supports immigrant rights such as One America. OneAmerica works to build coalitions between immigrant communities and mainstream communities and has a number of goals including: increasing and enhancing the participation of immigrants in civic life; winning positive policy change for immigrant communities locally and nationally; improving the public climate for immigrant communities locally and nationally; and increasing the capacity of immigrant organizations across the state to lead and advocate for change.
    5. Wear a safety pin on your clothing. Inspired by a movement in the wake of Brexit, there’s now a growing effort in the United States for people to start wearing the safety pin stateside in the face of post-election attacks and harassment. This is one small way to signal that you’re an ally (regardless of who you voted for) to someone who probably didn’t think they’d be in this vitriolic and volatile situation either. And here is a video with five helpful and simple things you can do if you see someone being harassed or attacked for any reason.

So if you are feeling especially upset or helpless or scared, take some action that is in alignment with your values. Taking action will give you a sense of empowerment, and empowerment is one of the world’s best mood lifters. Trust me.

I’ll leave you with this classic quote by Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I believe in us.

 

About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.

4 COMMENTS

  1. steve heller | 15th Nov 16

    Great post, wonderful advice, wonderful attitude.
    As a minor aside on #3: My first thought last week was to sign up and give to exactly those three. There are many other worthies, and I’d also suggest considering independent media, which is also going to be critical during the Great Darkness. My personal take would be those that are professional and serious and national in focus, specifically, I’ve signed up for TalkingPointsMemo (which I’ve long read) and will soon get around to ProPublica as well – both of them damn solid.

    • Anne Stericker | 15th Nov 16

      Thank you, Steve. As usual, excellent addition to the conversation. Thank you, too, for all of the great posts you put on FB. I appreciate your thoughts about this and other issues – so much.

  2. Koren Hubbard | 15th Nov 16

    Love the tips for taking action, Anne!

    • Anne Stericker | 15th Nov 16

      Thank you, Korrie. 😘😘😘

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