To say that the election has left most of us wrung out and worried about the uncertainties that this country (and the world) faces when the president-elect takes over the highest office in the land is an understatement.
Regardless of which side you are on, the presidential campaign has been exhausting, divisive, and demoralizing. Most of us feel worn out from all the bigotry, hate speech, and lack of a clear path forward, but move forward, we must. We can’t just curl up in a ball and check back in four years (as much as we might like to). The best thing we can do during this tumultuous transition is to take care—of ourselves, our friends and loved ones, and our communities.
Here are 5 ways to heal and restore peace-of-mind and wellness during this post-election period:
1. Take a vacation from all media. I love taking social media sabbaticals. In fact, I quit Facebook at the beginning of the summer, and I couldn’t be happier. I recommend not only putting a pause of your social media activity but on traditional media, too. Turn off the noise and static—consider doing this at least one day a week—or at night, when agitation levels can make it difficult to sleep.
2. Speaking of sleep, get plenty of it. According to the NIH, Sleep is essential to your physical health. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your brain, heart, and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Now is not the time to be, or stay, sleep-deprived. No one views tired people as heroic.
3. Stop whining and do something! We all have to go through a period of grief (unless the president-elect was your candidate), but after that, we must activate and use the election results as an opportunity to re-engage with your community and with organizations who are fighting the good fight.
Here’s a list of top organizations that are doing pro-civil rights, LGBTQ advocacy, and environmental protection. Consider donating to one or more of these organizations today. They need your support—and no amount of giving is too small. Be a part of the solution by supporting the hard work ahead if we are to maintain a semblance of equality and human rights we’ve fought so hard for.
4. Volunteer. Instead of bitching on Facebook, you could take that same energy and time and put it to use in your community. What are your skills and interests? Make a list and then check out Volunteer Match for opportunities in your area. Now is not the time for apathy, with over 90 million of eligible voters, or 43.2%, not voting, don’t you think we’ve had enough of apathy guiding our future?
5. Connect and channel your stress into something good. Suppress killer cortisol by turning it into oxytocin (a neurohormone often to referred to as the cuddle hormone). Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone and we are not designed to have it coursing through our body all day, every day. It contributes to the dreaded belly fat, and it creates inflammation in the body.
Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and one of the foremost experts on stress. We all know that stress is bad for us, and she thought so, too, but McGonigal’s research team discovered something even more interesting about stress—that it’s NOT stress that is bad for you, it’s the belief that stress is bad for you. This belief can cause early heart disease and shorten your lifespan. So, seeking support can activate your body’s stress resilience response through connection with others (and no, online doesn’t count). Check out McGonigal’s TED talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, and reach out—don’t isolate yourself!
Here’s a bonus thing you can do to restore wellness. Listen to this song called Weightless. The British band, Marconi Union, worked with sound therapists to create an 8-minute hypnotic tune with a continuous rhythm of 60 BPM. According to the therapists, this is the perfect tempo to synchronize your heart with your brainwaves. I’m not fully convinced, but I haven’t listened to it post-election, so I think I’ll give it a try tonight. If you do, let me know if it works for you.
Now it’s your turn. What things do you do when you need to restore your wellness after a stressful, tumultuous time? Please share!
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