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…
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.
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.
Wishing you a very happy new year!
anne (who loves coffee more…
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