Little Ways To Make A Difference Post-Election

by Lily Feinn
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The election is over, the votes have been counted, and for many, Tuesday, Nov. 8 has resulted in the worst possible outcome. After a long night spent watching the returns with horror, this morning you may be feeling shocked, saddened, and filled with anxiety and anger. These feelings are totally natural and normal, but there are a few little things you can do to make a positive difference after the 2016 election results.

In the wake of this political uproar, it may seem impossible not to focus on the negative or feel frozen and hopeless about the future. I'm not talking about jumping into action right this second (unless, of course, you are so motivated, in which case, go forth). It's totally OK to feel whatever you feel, and take whatever time you need in order to process this turn of events. Just like with the stages of grief, the emotional turbulence will ease with time.

If you are unsure how to start the healing, read this list, and take the first little steps towards rebuilding hope. Though the months and years ahead may be filled with uncertainty, and although it may all feel massively overwhelming right now, there are a few small things we can do over the course of the next few weeks to help. Pass on this information to friends and family who are suffering, and let's come together to bring a little light into this dark day.

Now that the 2016 election has been decided, here's what you can do to make positive change:

1. Call your parents, relatives, and friends. Check in on them, share your feelings, and listen to theirs with compassion.

2. Go outside.

3. Resolve not to let this election change the way you live your life and the choices you make. Keep on being you to the fullest.

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4. Do not waste time regretting the things you didn't do, or the choices you made leading up to the election.

5. Hug your friends and colleagues who are suffering at work today, offer them your support.

6. Steer clear of negative social media, and do a little digital-detox if needed.

7. If you wish to post something on social media, try an optimistic tone.

8. Set up a recurring donation to organizations that may soon be under threat, such as Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, and those that support the arts and education (such as PBS, NPR, and the NEA).

9. Attend a local protest and let your voice be heard. Remember that as Americans we have the right to peaceful assembly.

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10. You can also protest on social media.

11. Research ways in which you can volunteer to help with eduction and literacy in your area.

12. Organize a support group that will meet consistantly over the coming weeks.

13. Have some tissues on hand for anyone who may need them.

14. Tell your partner that you love them. Tell your friends you love them. Tell anyone you love you love them.

15. Ask if there is anything you can do to help create a safe space for your loved ones.

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16. Find out how you can volunteer to motivate voters for upcoming local elections. Remember, all seats in the House of Representatives will be up for re-election in a short two years' time.

17. Begin trying to identify and understand exactly the kind of positive change you want to make in the future. Remember that you cannot change everything all at once. That's OK.

18. Write the change you want to effect out on paper. Strategize the steps you can take to acheive this, what obstacles you might face, and ways for overcoming them.

19. Build a support network of people who have similar goals.

20. Reward yourself for every tiny step forward.

21. Perform stress relieving activities that encourage positive thinking like going for a jog, or taking a yoga class, and invite friends to join you.

22. Be kind to strangers. Try to send a positive energy into the world.

23. Breathe. Deeply.

24. Do not focus on the worst possible scenarios. Instead, try and maintain faith in humanity and our democratic system.

25. Try to limit substances that may aggravate anxiety such as caffeine and alcohol.

26. Encourage others to stand up with you, and take action. Be accountable to each other for your movement forward.

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27. If you are a teacher or have children, stay strong around them. Answer their questions truthfully, but in a way that calms their fears and anxieties.

And remember, to keep moving forward all you need to do is put one foot infront of the other.

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