17 Ways To Stay Positive After The Election, Because It's Been Scarier Than Anticipated
With the U.S. election coming to a close this evening, one thing is for certain: no one could have foreseen such a drastic and close race in the 2016 election. And because things went so completely off the rails, and every news outlet and social media channel seemed to blow up as soon as the votes started rolling in, it's understandable that you'd be feeling a little stressed out after the evening's festivities and sorrows. Rather than wallowing, it's important to find ways to stay positive after the election, because for so many Americans, this uphill battle only gets that much steeper starting tomorrow morning.
Though the results of the election are still rolling in, regardless of the outcome tonight, it's going to be hard to get out of bed tomorrow. Because the fact remains that no matter who takes the race for the Oval Office, a scary amount of Americans have put their faith in a man who promised walls, bigotry, and regression. I know it's going to feel really, really appealing to stay in bed for as many sick days as you can swindle out of your employer, but now more than ever, finding ways to be positive is extremely important. So roll out of that comfortable bed that's beckoning you to wallow, and try shaking off your stress and anxiety with the following suggestions.
1. Be Kind To Yourself
It's hard not to think of all the things you could have done leading up to the election that may have helped change how close the race was, but don't beat yourself up. Treat yourself with the utmost care. Remember that you are worthy, that you are wonderful, and that you did your best. Rather than letting the close race paralyze you, take note, and remember this for the next election. Make a promise to yourself to love rather than hate.
2. Be Kind To Others
Hatred is always the easiest option when things don't go your way, especially if you had your heart set on one candidate in particular. But hatred only fuels more and more hatred. Treat others with kindness. If the insanely close election has taught Americans anything, it's that a scary amount of Americans support a candidate whose entire campaign was based on hatred, fear, and bigotry. So before you go off on someone who voted not to your liking, try kindness instead.
3. Watch Some Kitten YouTubes
Hillary Clinton herself admitted to watching YouTubes of cats to get herself through the stress of the election, so why shouldn't you partake in a few of these too? Even if you're not a cat person, you literally cannot go wrong with a solid cat compilation video.
4. Get Some Sleep
I know, I know. It's probably really difficult to even fathom sleeping right now, and even if you are sleeping, you're probably riddled with nightmares of The Hunger Games becoming a very, very real thing in our country. But sleep is important. Sleep is good. Sleep helps you view things a little clearer in the morning. Less doomsday, more bright sunny mornings.
5. Take A Bubble Bath
Get really lavish. Drop a bath bomb in that bad boy. Light some candles. Turn on your favorite music. Relax in the comforts of your dimly lit bathroom as you breathe deeply and remember that even though it might seem like the world is going to end, it's going to keep on turning.
6. Binge Something Great On Netflix
Might I suggest a beacon of feminism and lovely ideals, Miss Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation?
7. Talk About It
Nothing is worse than simmering in your inner turmoil alone. Talk about your residual stress, your anxiety, and your feelings about the election. Though it seems like it's been going on forever, your feelings are worthy and valid of being heard. Whether you have a therapist, a best friend, or a coworker, find a confidante and share your feelings. Chances are high that you're not alone.
8. Check Out Of Social Media
Yeah, I know. You want to be in the know. You want to commiserate. You want to keep up with your friends and your favorite celebrities. But unplugging from social media could actually help you in the long run. Rather than stewing on the stress and jumping on furious bandwagons, unplugging will afford you a little bit more peace of mind in the aftermath of this election. Give yourself a few days off from the collective madness. Twitter and Facebook will still be there when you come back.
9. Learn To Knit
Nothing has changed my ability to deal with my anxiety like taking up knitting. I'm serious. Learning to knit was a game changer for me. It keeps your hands busy, it gives you a tangible outcome, and it teaches you massive amounts of patience. Look up a class, or call your grandmother and ask her to teach you over the holidays. Ironically, I had the pleasure of teaching my grandmother to knit last year. It kept my hands and brain busy, my anxiety down, and bonded us beyond belief.
10. Avoid Stress Eating
Yeah. All I wanted to eat on election night was fries, chocolate, and buckets of wine. But those are foods that generally make me feel worse in the long run, so I made an effort to stock the fridge with some healthy snacks. Rather than potato chips, I dug into carrot sticks. Rather than a chocolate bar, I enjoyed a Honeycrisp apple. It was nowhere near the same, but I have to admit, my stomach ache was considerably less than it has been during election eves of the past.
11. Get To The Gym
You've heard it before, you'll hear it again. Exercise is key when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. You're undoubtedly feeling at least one of those emotions after the 2016 election, so why not combat it by lifting some weights, and taking a jog around your neighborhood to remind you that you are a strong person, regardless of who takes the Oval Office.
12. Get Social
Although it might seem like the world is ending after that insanely close election, human connection has never been more important. It may seem easier to wallow in your residual depression and stress regarding the evening, but surrounding yourself with good people will help you more than you realize. Whether you organize a game night with your nearest and dearest, plan a trip to the museum, or just grab coffee with a few of your faves, being social will help lift you out of your potential political funk.
13. Don't Read The Comments
As someone who has written online for years now, "Don't Read The Comments" has become a personal mantra of mine. In the comments section, you're bound to find someone who's ready to bait you like you wouldn't believe. Don't take the bait. Don't read the comments. Turn off notifications on your Facebook comments if you need to avoid the hullabaloo. You're better off without that negativity in your life.
14. Get Outside
Have you seen the light of day since election coverage began? (Because my Vitamin D is severely lacking this season.) Get outside. The sun is still there. The sky has not fallen. You'll thank yourself later. But don't forget to wear sunscreen.
15. Try Meditating
Even if you're not sure meditation is for you, why not give it a shot? Known to reduce stress and anxiety, meditation may be the key to perking up after this tumultuous election. Check out the following beginner guided meditations if you need help dipping your toes in the meditation pond.
16. Call Someone
If you find yourself struggling deeply, having suicidal thoughts, or are scared you may hurt yourself, please, please, please reach out. The National Suicide Outline is available at 1-800-273-8255, and support from The Trevor Project (LGBTQ focused) is available at 1-866-488-7386
17. Remind Yourself To Be Thankful
Though it may seem like you don't have a lot to be thankful for in the aftermath in the election, reminding yourself of the little things you have to be thankful for can help you get through the day to day. Make yourself a list. Start using Post-Its and tack them to your mirror. From your family, to your cat, to your favorite pair of shoes, make a list of every single thing that makes you happy, that keeps you thankful. Carry it with you if you need to. Every little thing counts.