HOW TO COPE WITH POST-ELECTION STRESS, FEAR & FEELINGS OF POWERLESSNESS

HOW TO COPE WITH POST-ELECTION STRESS, FEAR & FEELINGS OF POWERLESSNESS

Many of us are feeling enormous stress in the aftermath of the election. The whole mess has reminded me, once again, of the importance of incorporating stress-reduction practices into our lives.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling good, balanced, calm and enjoying life,  I tend to let these practices slide. Life, however, is uncertain. We never know what is around the corner. Planning, thinking and preparing does little to help us when life takes a sudden left turn, or is it right. What we need then is inner strength and resilience.

DEVELOP RESILIENCE

stressResilience, the ability to recover quickly from setbacks, a kind of inner toughness, is developed over time through regular self-care practices.  It is the thing that will and does see us through difficult times. Many of us have less resilience than we need. When challenges come our way and we are undone by them, falling into acute anxiety, illness, depression or PTSD, it’s time to amp up our self-care routine.

We can’t stop life, nor can we insulate ourselves from life altering challenges. We can prepare ourselves to meet those challenges and listen to what our reaction is telling us. Daily grounding, stress-reduction practices can, and does, help us develop resilience. Taking time each day to process life and to care for ourselves physically and emotionally strengthens us.

Rising anxiety, fear, panic and depression then become signals that we need to practice more self-care. Lying awake nights worrying about how to fix a problem is not an effective means of solving any problem. It’s a reaction. When we recognize this as a signal we can then bump up the amount of time we spend in meditation, solitude, journaling, or whatever practice we find grounding and healing.

PAUSE AND REWIND

As I push the pause button today and reflect on the past weeks and months leading up to the election, I realize now that I have been running on adrenaline. With each passing day, the cycle of anger, frustration and fear escalated a little more. Flinging obscenities at the TV became my favorite pastime. Sleep eluded me. My eating became erratic. My body was going into fight/flight/flee mode.

Awash with a growing sense of powerlessness, I felt as though I was battling my abuser. The election became very personal to me. In a very real sense I was. Determined not to accept that things could go anyway other than I wanted, or my abuser would win, I lived in a state of panic and unresolved conflict. I stopped taking time to down-regulate and care for myself. I was losing my perspective, and not seeing reality.

We can’t immerse ourselves in anxiety provoking situations again and again, without becoming depleted, or more anxious. The internet remains one of the biggest source of my own personal stress, as I imagine it is for many others.  I am still learning to manage it.  Being exposed to a stream of news and endless suffering stirs my desire to tend to those in need. I amp up my efforts to take care of the suffering and begin to neglect myself. When the need is too large, and nothing I do seems to help, I despair. We all have different triggers and knowing what they are is a part of developing resilience.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Practices that I find to be nurturing include silence, time alone, immersion in nature, meditation, reflective reading, walking, a simple, pure diet, essential oils, a relaxing hot bath, massage, and giving myself permission to disconnect from those in need. Staying connected with friends and loved ones, especially those who are supportive and understanding, reinforces my sense of well-being.

When we give ourselves permission to practice self-care every day, we not only feel better, we cope more effectively and are able to do more to remedy difficult situations.


Crystal Honeycutt and I are putting together a series of workshops to address the needs of people who are feeling the weight of stress and anxiety. They will be launched the first of the year, if not before. In a small online group setting, we will offer participants the tools needed to develop resilience and to take the next step in their journey toward health, body, mind and spirit. If you would like to be kept informed about the exact date and time of these workshops, please register below.

Sign Up for Workshop Info

 


If you are looking for an opportunity to connect with other tribe members, consider joining a small, private circle.  Contact me via email AgingAbundantly@gmail.com and I will add you to the list.

6 Replies to “HOW TO COPE WITH POST-ELECTION STRESS, FEAR & FEELINGS OF POWERLESSNESS”

  1. Great post, Dorothy, and much needed. I’ve finally broken through my anxiety and though the results of the election are still horrible, I’m back to writing and feeling good again.

  2. Beautiful post, Dorothy. I’m slowly working my way through the sense of doom. Surreal describes it well. I agree, stepping back and taking time for self-care is imperative. Thank you for your wise and soothing words.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. I’m slipping away into Thanksgiving with my boys for a little R&R. I am lifted up by all of the kind, loving and caring women who will always make the world a better place no matter what. (And a few good men! :))

  3. Dorothy, I took a course titled: Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance. It teaches living in the present and great instructions on simple meditation techniques. I just started reviewing it again and realized how much this is needed and helps in the current environment.

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