Self Care for Post-Election Stress

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So yesterday I had to call on all-stop for myself. I woke up still in shock. I had a monster headache from the 2 margaritas I decided to drink after the 3 glasses of wine I’d consumed while the votes were coming in. My eyes were puffy from crying at the end of the night,  in the morning, and as I was reading stories of awful racial, religious, and homophobic attacks around the country. In case you’re reeling from the election too and looking for ways to take care of yourself, here’s what I did while processing everything:

{I Cancelled My Plans}

I couldn’t even concentrate on making breakfast so I knew I wouldn’t be able to work on any projects or work out. I realize canceling work is not always an option for a lot of people, so I get it if you can’t, but when you’re having an incredibly emotional day, it’s ok to call in sick to take care of yourself.

What you can do > > Take a sick day. If you can’t miss work/school, maybe afterwards find a quiet spot to sit and be. Take a friend with you if you want company. Take a long bath. However you do it, put aside some time for yourself.

{I Slept} 

Like a lot of people on election night, I was up really late. I woke up at 8:30 and had to get out of my haze long enough to get my dog some food and drive home (I’d stayed at a friends’ house an hour away). When I got home, I took my shoes off, climbed straight into bed, and slept. Hard. I woke up 3 hours later.

What you can do > > Take a small nap or take a big one. Meditate (find an app). Get to bed early tonight if you didn’t sleep the night before. Sleep is your body’s way of recovering after the stress of the day. Don’t deny yourself the chance to recover.

{I Felt What I Had To Feel}

I’m a text book compartmentalizer. I take what I feel, shove it into a box, and then hide it as deep as I can. It only took me 3 decades to realize that I should just take some time to feel what I need to in order to better assess the situation later. I laid in bed. I talked to a couple good friends. I read stories of how my minority friends and fellow Americans were feeling and what they were experiencing. It’s important to know what’s going on in other people’s lives and so although there was a lot of awful shit happening in the country, I needed to know about it. It doesn’t help anything if I’m oblivious to what half the country is experiencing – the exact opposite of my day. Yes it was painful to read the stories, and yes it made me feel worse, but it’s important to know what’s happening to my neighbors.

What you can do > > Talk with a trusted friend. Talk to a therapist (Talkspace is great, I hear). Write down what you’re feeling if you don’t have anybody to talk to right now.

{I Ate Food and Drank Water}

I was shaking when I got up from my nap and realized I hadn’t had anything but a glass of water all day. I made a salad, cut up some veggies, and ate some chicken. I drank a couple more glasses of water, and laid on the couch with my dog. The basics. We have to get back to the basics first! Or at least whenever you remember to…

What you can do > > Drink water. Eat something that grew from the ground or a tree. Have a meal with somebody you trust.

{I Went Outside For A Long Walk}

Tango and I went out in the rain and just walked for an hour. I breathed in the fresh air. I got my blood flowing. My dog and I both got some exercise and I felt better.

What you can do > > Go walk. Go run. Go stretch. Grab a buddy or go alone, but at some point, you’ll have to get up. It doesn’t have to be for long, but you’ll always feel better after some time moving your body. And if you can do that outside, even better.

{I Went to Restorative Yoga}

I got online to check the schedule for classes at a local studio I’d heard about. There was a  Restorative Yoga class (which is my favorite kind: stretching, blankets, pillows, dim lights) starting in 15 minutes and I just grabbed my purse and walked out of the house. I like yoga, but am by no means a yogi. I take class a handful of times per year, usually if I’m injured or sick and can’t do anything else, But this night, I felt like my body and mind needed it. The instructor moved us into a pose, I put my blanket over my body and closed my eyes. Silent tears streamed down my face as I thought of those who would be negatively affected by this presidency – those dependent on the ACA for their Medicaid and immigrants desperately trying to get into the U.S. to save their families from terrorists or drug lords. I thought of the social, racial, and ethnic minorities that were scared to leave their homes for fear of getting attacked. I eventually stopped crying as we moved from one passive stretch to the next. As I laid there in the dark room for savasana, I tried to think of anything and everything I could do. Tomorrow would be a new day, it would be time to act.

What you can do > > Maybe go to yoga, maybe a meditation class. If you leaving your family is not an option or funds are tight, maybe put some soft music on, light a candle, and lie there. If you’ve got kids and you want to take them through some movements or stretches, they might like to be involved. Or just snuggle.

{I Made a Plan}

When I got home that night, I couldn’t sleep. I started thinking of the things I was most worried about: Black, Muslim, and LGBT Americans and Immigrants who are scared out of their mind, and programs like Planned Parenthood, refugee help centers, and lower income youth safety and education.

I donated small amounts to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and 2 of my local Louisville help centers – Seven Counties and The West End School. Since I’m just on visitor status here in Canada, I’m not working right now, so I can’t afford to give too much, but even $10 donations are appreciated.

I may not have lots of money, but I do have tons of time. I’ll be home in Kentucky for Thanksgiving for a week and a half. I’m currently researching places to volunteer while I’m home. I put a post on Facebook and Twitter to search for organizations that need help. I’ve got a few places in mine and also a few people that want to help out too.

What you can do > > Write down what you’re most worried about. Donate your time or money to the organizations that do something about it. Research the legislators in your area to see what’s being done about the things you care about.

{I Hoped}

Maybe we’ll be wrong. D.T.’s acceptance speech was the first time I’ve ever seen him act like a decent person. Today he said “Obama is very good man.” And later after their meeting, “It was an honor.” This is a complete 180 from what he’s said in the past. Maybe we’ll be wrong and he’ll be better. We don’t have any evidence to believe that, but maybe, just maybe, there’s hope. If nothing else, it’ll fuel better and more helpful behavior from the rest of us.

What you can do > > Hope. Pray. Be kind to the next person you interact with. Reach out to somebody who looks different than you and get to know them. Volunteer with a local organization that is doing good things. Get more involved in your states legislative affairs.

I think Hills said it best yesterday:

“Our constitutional democracy demands our participation. Not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet, and breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.

We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone. For people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and people with disabilities, for everyone.

So now our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will. I am so grateful to stand with all of you.”

 

We need to have the tough conversations.

We need relationships with those that are different from us

because we really are stronger together.

So take a deep breath.

Take care of yourself.

Take care of your family, loved ones & anybody you see who’s being treated unfairly.

Take a day for yourself in you need it. Then let’s start the work.

 

 

#StrongerTogether

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Comments

  1. Ami, you are an incredible person. I was honoured to watch the election results with you. While it didn’t go the way we wanted, your post has given me hope for the American people.if even a small percentage of the population is as passionate and genuine as you, America WILL be great again (though it may take more than 4 years)! Keep doing what you do well, and know that you have a great group of friends and supporters right beside you! ?❤️??

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