Whether a Democrat, Republican, Independent or undecided voter, the 2016 election season stressed people out. The American Psychological Association reported back in October that 52 percent of adults said that the election season had served as at least a large or significant source of stress. (Courtesy APA)
Dr. Seth Norrholm, PhD suggests these effective strategies that you can use as you process your post-election fatigue:
(1) DO Keep up with your daily activities, routines, hobbies, and social plans
Acute, sudden onset of sadness and depression can lead to a state of withdrawal and avoidance of daily life and this has the danger of spinning into a dangerous vicious cycle. So that means get on your bike, put on your running shoes, go for a long walk with your dog – all of these activities will help you feel better and reinforce your sense that life will go on.
(2) DO NOT give in to the urge to debate the election results with friends, relatives, or co-workers
This will only prolong and potentially worsen your feelings of anger and frustration and possibly lead you into the vicious cycle previously mentioned.
(3) DO stick to your core values and cherish the things that you hold dear
If you are feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and without focus, channel that energy to something productive and focus on things that are important to you like your family, your holiday traditions, your social groups, and your emotional support system. If you were an activist for the Democratic side, keep up with these activities. Continue to work toward change by working in the communities, reaching out to those in need, spreading information about causes for which you are passionate.
(4) DO act as a role model for your children, your students, your neighbors and your friends
These emotions feel very raw today and that is part of the healthy recovery process from what you have experienced. Yet do your best to keep in mind that others are watching and you will ultimately feel better with positive interaction with friends and family. This is not the time to go on a Twitter rant or vandalize the neighbors car. These activities are unproductive and will make you feel worse in the long run.
(5) DO remember that our forefathers established a three part governmental system with checks and balances
Do not be acutely afraid that sweeping, radical change will occur as of January 20, 2017. Don't let your feelings snowball out of control (this is also called catastrophizing). Keep an even perspective and remember that there are millions watching and hundreds in place to monitor how the next administration operates.
Lastly, breathe – and be mindful of your reactions. Take a few minutes to process your feelings and then make a promise to yourself to move on with your life in a productive, meaningful fashion.