Health

Here Are Some Ways To Combat Post-Election Stress And Anxiety

Has the election got you down? Here's how to start climbing out.

The day after a presidential election is always tense, but as far as post-election blues goes, the 2016 election might take the cake.

Experts are calling Donald J. Trump’s win a shocking victory, and people are feeling anxious for what the future may hold. Regardless of who you voted for, it’s clear that our country is in a state of flux right now, and that can be very frightening.

President Obama empathized with Americans’ stress, sharing a wise sentiment on Election Night:

As he says, “The sun will rise again in the morning.”

His speech brought hope and comfort to many, especially as he reminded us all to treat each other with kinship and respect, rather than animosity and bitterness. However, anger still reigned, especially on social media where politicians tried to encourage a kinder debate:

Others quietly protested in their own way.

While others celebrated:

Regardless of your personal sentiment, the reality is that it is now time to practice self-compassion and self-care. This election cycle has been beyond stressful for everyone, and many relationships and feelings have been wounded. But not beyond repair. Today is a day to rebuild. To start anew. And to recommit ourselves to our principles and goals, whether we are Republican, Democrat, or something in between.

Here are some tips to help you recoup from post-election anxiety:

1. Get off social media for a week or two.

If your newsfeed is making you rage-y, it’s time to disconnect. Use your new free time to journal, read, draw or do yoga instead. Studies have shown that social media usage and depression are strongly linked, so practice discretion when online.

2. Commit to a volunteer effort.

If one or multiple of the candidates you supported lost, you might be feeling as though your vote didn’t count and your voice wasn’t heard. Rest assured, it did!

Stay dedicated to your personal values, whether it is by working for a volunteer organization in your neighborhood or collecting holiday items from your neighbors for a local homeless shelter. Doing so will remind you that every person can make positive changes in their community, and it will help you to rebuild civic pride and connection with fellow Americans.

3. Meditate.

The benefits of meditation are innumerable. From improved cognition to better moods to increased self-control and higher levels of creativity, meditation can help you to re-focus after this election season. Set aside a quiet space of your home. Use battery operated candles to keep things dim without risking a fire. Play some soothing music. Repeat a meditation mantra quietly or inside your mind. Allow thoughts to rise without judging them or clinging onto them. Breathe. Let go. Find more tips here.

4. Avoid political debates.

If you know a friend or family member voted differently than you, then you may not want to even bother broaching the topic. You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind (or the outcome, at this point) but you could potentially damage the relationship. Remember, we are so much more than who we voted for on Election Day.

5. Focus on what unites us all.

It can be hard to feel connected to other Americans during this time of divide and dissent. But the reality is that we are still Americans, and we all have the ability to make our country a better place. Find one thing you can do today that will make someone smile, whether they voted for Trump or Clinton.