There has been significant confusion, suffering, and pain since the 2016 Presidential election. Every day people vilify, rage, and criticize elected leaders, media, political and social organizations, and even each other.
I understand the pain many are feeling, but here’s the thing- I have a life to live and I have important work to do, despite the election results and what’s happening in our country.
It’s hard to get up every morning and go about the business of the day carrying the weight of the election on my head, heart, and soul.
The work that many people are doing related to politics is important, too, but what’s not important is projecting fear, insecurity, and hate, even if those are the very emotions you are feeling.
If you’re like me your important work is not directly related to politics. And before you can do your important work you need to find a way to heal from the election.
How to heal from the election
Suspend the snark
Looking at my social media feeds, over 90% of what I see posted is not intelligent political discourse, but rather sarcastic, snarky, and seething commentary on politics. Did you know the origin of the word, “sarcasm” means to “tear flesh”? Ouch.
The momentary sense of satisfaction you get from posting snarky memes is quickly replaced by anger, despair, and hopelessness. Stop sharing sarcasm and snark.
Create a container
Your feelings are important and it’s just as important to create a safe container for your feelings. Emotions can be overwhelming if we let them overrun our experience. Those same emotions are damaging if we project them outward on the people closest to us.
Write about your thoughts and feelings in your journal, or share them in conversation with a trusted mentor or friend. Create a safe container to express and hold space for your feelings.
Be the boss of you
Over the last several weeks I’ve seen a lot of people telling other people how to behave and feel. Putting yourself in charge of other people’s actions and emotions is a great way to distance yourself from others and feel really miserable about it.
Be the boss of you. Work on managing yourself and your feelings. Put on your oxygen mask. Take care of your emotional well-being. Be a leader and example for those same people you just can’t change.
Pay attention to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Take good care of you first and foremost.
Self-care includes getting a good night’s sleep, eating nutritious and healthy food, and some form of physical activity.
Nurture your relationships
We are social creatures, designed to live and work together. Now is the time to nurture our relationships and strengthen our connections.
Invite a co-worker to lunch or connect with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Call your mom, just to say hello.
Treating others with kindness will naturally improve your relationships, your outlook, and your mood. Besides, we can accomplish so much more together than alone.
Practicing kindness is a great start.
Accept before you act
Anytime you’re faced with a problem it’s important to accept before you act. Acceptance doesn’t equal approval but rather understanding. Do you fully understand the problem? If not, ask yourself, “what happened? Why? What can I learn from this?”
When you accept before you act, your actions are more thoughtful and intentional, and often yield better results.
Do something important
The best way to counter feelings of hopelessness is to take action. Instead of focusing on the problem, take a small step to create change.
Do something productive. Do something meaningful. Do something important that will get you one step closer to a personal, professional, or political goal.
If you’re going to share something about politics on social media, why not share this post? Begin to heal and encourage others to do the same. Do what you need to do and do it in a way that inspires, uplifts, and creates positive change.