Post-Election Self Care

Feeling stressed out since the election? I know I am. Emotions run high on all sides of the political spectrum. Facebook and other social media feel like venting pots for anger, grief, and blame. Petitions and calls to action fill my inbox.

Voicing our concerns and indignation is important, but I’ve had to pull back. I’m so burned out on politics that even when I hear speakers I love and trust, I click away before they have a chance to finish their impassioned sentences. For now, I’m done. I’m burnt. I’m fried. On overload. I have no room for any of it. I feel the drip-drip-drip like a slow leak in my life force. What I need most is to chill out. Laugh. Breathe. Unwind. Connect.

I’ve been proactive over the years. I’ve emailed the President and my representatives. I’ve received form letters back with a lot of blah blah blah that makes me feel I’m speaking to nobody.

Now I’m taking a different course of action — being proactive about my own wellbeing. My body sends me messages. I listen. It tells me to withdraw. Take care of myself. I don’t want it to feel it’s speaking into the air. If I respond with politically correct rhetoric, but don’t take action to back up my words, my body knows. It doesn’t understand words as much as action. When I push it down and don’t listen, it further withdraws. I feel it. The body isn’t punishing. It’s trying to protect me. It expects me to do the same by respecting its limitations and boundaries.

If I stay upset over that which I have no control, I won’t survive. There has always been ugliness in our world as there will undoubtedly be for all time. I have to pick my battles and let go of the rest. So I take inventory of my resources and decide how much I have to go around. I make sure I leave enough for myself because if I don’t, there will be nothing left.

I believe connection and compassion toward others on all sides is the beginning of healing. I refuse to demonize those who don’t think or feel as I do. We the people are far more complex than cartoon characters made up of good guys and bad guys. Most people are just trying to cope and do their best in their small corners of the world. Most want the same things for themselves and their families, even if they don’t agree on the best way to go about it.

It’s easy to see the world as a horrible place when chaos abounds in the world and our private lives. It’s not a balanced view, but I admit my vision has been skewed in that direction. I’m trying to refocus on what’s good and right and beautiful. It’s all around us, coexisting right along with the bad.

For my next post, I’ll finally share the photos I promised from my Hawaii trip two months ago. The beauty and peace of the islands was a welcome break. I could use more of that. For now, just envisioning the palm trees swaying in the wind makes me smile.

Comments

  1. I get your point, but for me, I’m very wary of those who voted for the President-elect. If I wear rose-colored glasses, I might get a black eye.

    • Definitely not in the mood for rose-colored glasses either. If the situation calls for being wary, it’s what must be. It’s easier for me, I think, because I’m in California.

  2. I too get your point, but I have no compassion right now for those voters who chose to vote against so many things–especially ACA which is an absolute necessity for me. It is too hard to convince myself to have compassion for anyone who thinks millions of people (myself included) do not deserve affordable health care. I’m just not there yet, so my self care involves cutting people out of my life.

    • Wendi, I hear you. The right to healthcare, and healthcare that’s affordable, is one of my biggest pet peeves with our country. Re cutting people from your life, yes, that can be a form of self-care and if it’s what you need, so be it. Who knows what the future will bring. If this election year is an indicator of anything, I’m guessing it’ll be a real bumpy ride.

  3. I am also finding it difficult to ignore what just happened. It now feels weird, especially with those who I considered my friends. A lot has been uncovered and it’s very unpleasant. NY is pissed off. I am disappointed, and in a way, angry too. This certainly adds to my burden. I feel for many of us, especially those in need of health care. I hope that the changes aren’t too drastic and that there isn’t too much damage. Self care is always important and it wouldn’t hurt to try to find ways to detox. Surrounding ourselves with empathetic people is a good start. I plan on taking this approach.

    I am glad you’re doing well. I am looking forward to seeing your photos. xx

    • Rebecca, always nice to hear from you. I always feel aligned with where you’re at. I hope the future isn’t as damning as many believe, but each passing day brings some news that makes me shake my head and wonder. I think having a solid community and support system will be more important now than ever.

  4. So glad you’re back! I, too, have had to retreat for self-preservation. After spending way too much time every day following the “horse race” of the presidential election, I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I spent some time doing creative things these past weeks and intend to do more. I read where doing something creative every day makes you feel better, and I think that’s true, at least for me. As I said in my last blog post, “idle hands are the Trumps’ playground.” 🙂 Will look forward to those photos of tropical paradise!

  5. Honestly, Eileen, I think if I were not fortunate enough to have a job that requires me to help others, I would have lost my mind after this election. The day after it, I was on a plane flying to a conference of both clinicians who’d had breast cancer and people with metastatic breast cancer, all of us trying to hammer out ways to help folks with mbc minimize the collateral damage of treatment. Honestly, it was the best antidote. I felt privileged to be there. Of course, when I got home, all the awful reality flooded in. But then, on Monday morning, I went back to work…

    When I’m home, I try to give myself empty space and creative distraction, in between writing to my reps in Congress and signing petitions and contributing to non-profits who might help us fight the good fight. Oy. xoxo, Kathi

    • Kathi, I think you hit the keys — helping others and creativity. Our government may be riddled with problems, but helping others is how we change the world, each doing our small part. It makes me glad to know people like you who make this world a better place, just doing your thing. That’s it right there. xo

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