Coping With Your Post-Election Grief
[PUBLISHED BY HUFFINGTON POST, NOV 9]
As I sit here to write this, the US election has just been called. To my complete horror and astonishment, Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. I can't even write that without the blood draining from my face.
This election has had a lot of ups and downs and its left many of us feeling burnt out, grief-stricken and perhaps even depressed.
There are real consequences for many people the world over, so if you're experiencing feelings of loss and grief right now, you're not alone. Your feelings are justified, and should not be taken lightly. The impact of grief is real and its ugly, so let's do whatever we can to help ourselves cope.
Why Does It Matter?
I am Canadian but as a young, Black woman, this US election matters. It matters because of all that there is to lose. I am tired of grieving Black men, women and children slain in the streets. I am tired of being reminded that literally millions and millions of people believe I am a second-class citizen solely because of my gender and the colour of my skin.
I do not want to wake up tomorrow and face the reality that women will be losing their right to make choices about their own bodies. That people of colour will face persecution not seen since the 1950s and certain ethnic groups may be banned entirely. That climate change will be denied, let alone addressed. That an entire nation has been divided, and violence, urged by the new Leader of the Free World, will very likely ensue.
Mostly, I am terrified that tens of millions of Americans came out in spades to support a man who is endorsed by the KKK, a known terrorist group. Trump is an admitted sexist, a liar, cheat and alleged rapist. A man(child) with zero political background -- completely and entirely unqualified for any position of stature. He is Hitler 2.0, and he now represents the most powerful country in the world. It is, in a word, devastating.
What Do We Do?
So, where the hell do we go from here? Below are some tips to help us all get through the next few days, and, unfathomably, the next four years.
(1) Feel All The Feels: First and foremost, you gotta feel it so you can heal it. It can be tempting to numb out but do your best to check in with yourself and figure out how this all makes you feel. No matter what that is - be it sad, angry, anxious, frustrated, hopeless or the like - be honest and own it. Identifying where you're at is the first step to getting where you wanna be.
(2) Support One Another: Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Surround yourself with friends, family and pets who offer you comfort during tumultuous times. Love does trump hate;
(3) Limit Your News Intake: The media is going to have a field day for days and weeks to come. You'll likely be entirely saturated by news stories and it can really take a toll on your mental health. Take breaks. Turn your phone, computer and TV off and spend time unplugged and away from the hounding of headlines.
(4) Give Back: One of the strongest negative feelings that may result from this election is feeling hopeless or out of control. A great way to combat those feelings is to call yourself to action. Donate to charities/causes supporting issues near and dear to you. Drop off clothes. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen - help make this world a better place (cuz Lord friggin' knows, we're gonna need it!)
(5) Seek Support: You are not alone. There are many wonderful therapists, healers, grief coaches etc. out there who are ready, willing and able to assist you through whatever feelings or issues this crazy election cycle has brought up for you. If you're feeling particularly down and out, seek help from a qualified professional and/or contact a crisis line near you.
Sending you all love and light today. Take good care. xo R