13 Ways To Cope With Your Sadness About The Election
Election Day was almost two weeks ago, but much of the nation is still reeling from the results. If you're part of that group, don't worry — you're not alone, and there are plenty of things you can do if you're still miserable about the election. Some are political, and some are anything but. The important thing is just to find what works for you, because you're going to have to get on with your life if you're going to have any extra energy and resources to fight the good fight.
This is not a bright moment for the country, but the country has gotten past more difficult moments in its history. That's not to say that it won't be hard work, or that everything will go smoothly. It's okay to feel traumatized, because Donald Trump's victory was traumatic for many people.
What you should aim for is stopping that feeling from paralyzing you, because the country needs you. This is understandably a time when it's difficult to be optimistic, so I won't ask you just to be optimistic without giving you anything to base it on.
Instead, here's a list of concrete things that you can do to make you feel better if you're finding it difficult to claw yourself out of your post-election depression.
1. Go Outside
Thankfully, previous federal, state, and local governments have set up an amazing system of parks dotted across the country. Even if you don't happen to live in a country with Yellowstone-like scenery, the benefits of going outside and getting some fresh air are many. Do this in whatever way fits your life best — take a hike, read in a quiet city square, take your run outside, or go camping and totally shut out real life.
2. Take A Break From The News
Newspapers and news websites are a scary place right now, so take a break from them. Step away from Twitter, avoid your news feed, don't look at the papers — even just for a couple of hours. There are numerous scientific benefits to taking breaks from social media. If you can start cultivating time spent away from the parts of your life that are stressing you out and not letting the feeling of depression go away, you'll start feeling better.
3. Practice Gratitude
I won't try to convince you that everything will be OK, because this election has already had scary results. However, taking a minute every day to think about what you're thankful for has major benefits, including increased happiness and reduced feelings of depression. Plus, even once your election depression is already long past, you'll still be able to see the benefits of practicing gratitude if you get in the habit now. Challenge yourself to get a journal and write down three things you're thankful for every day before you go to bed.
4. Do Something Productive With Your Sadness And Anger
Whether it's protesting the Muslim registry, getting involved with a third party, volunteering with your choice of charity, or anything else that makes your goals closer to a reality, doing something active will make you feel a lot better about the situation.
5. Appreciate The Good Things Other People Are Doing
You've probably seen this, either in in real life or on the news, but there has been a huge outpouring of support for the people whom a Trump presidency threatens to marginalize. Even as you're getting involved yourself, you can still feel inspired by all the great things that other people are choosing to do.
6. Talk It Out — Even With Someone Who Disagrees
It's general wisdom to avoid the comments section, but having an actual conversation with a person who disagrees with you about one issue or another is probably the best way of seeing the other side. Maybe they'll have another take on the issues that are bothering you, or maybe hearing your side will make them see the problems in a new light. If you'd rather just vent to someone who agrees with you, then by all means, do that. You're bound to have someone around who will listen, and you'll feel so much better afterwards.
7. If It's Easier, Write It Out
If you journal regularly, then you know how good it feels to write down your feelings. But there are also physical and mental health benefits of journaling, and there is no better time than now to explore those for yourself.
8. Don't Beat Yourself Up
This was a tough result for a lot of people, and there's a good chance that your fears are well-founded, given the things that Trump has actually said. So if you're still feeling depressed or frightened, don't beat yourself up. You're not alone.
9. Bond With An Animal
Much like journaling, going outside, or thinking about what you're thankful for, spending time with an animal also feels good and has proven health benefits. Your neighbor's dog doesn't know about all the nastiness that the election brought with it — take advantage of that.
10. Support An Organization You Trust
If you don't have the time to volunteer, there are hundreds of organizations that will be thrilled to take your money and do something worthwhile with it. You could be like the millions who have donated to Planned Parenthood in honor of Mike Pence, or join up with Al Gore to combat climate change, or even donate to the Clinton Foundation.
11. Be A Visible Ally
As the slogan this election went, love trumps hate — and the election results don't change that. Make sure the people around you know that you stand with them, whether that's by wearing a safety pin, hanging a rainbow flag out of your window, or walking in one of these protests with a sign.
12. Plan A Vacation
Let's be honest: You probably need a break. If you start planning a fun and exciting vacation, it'll take your mind off of the tense state of the world and give you a chance to focus on something much nicer. Plus, there are health benefits to taking vacation. But not only that, there are also health benefits that come with anticipating a vacation.
13. Remember That There Are Midterm Elections In Two Years
It may seem far away, and obviously the last thing you want right now is another election, but the midterms in 2018 will be more important than ever. The Democrats will have a chance to retake the Senate and/or the House, and you can work to make that happen. In fact, it's more important than ever that you do.
None of these suggestions will fix all of the problems, and it's likely that you'll keep feeling the remnants of this depression for a while. But at this point, anything you can do to make yourself feel better is totally worth it, so take a moment to take stock of what's getting to you and how you can best address it. Don't worry, things will get better.