It’s been a stressful election week—on top of a stressful month and an incredibly stressful year. With election results still looming, we’re trying to keep ourselves grounded in what we do know and what we can do.
How do you cope when it feels like everything is at risk? The answer is: You start by making sure you’re safe. You take care of yourself, so you have the energy to continue your work and continue pushing for systemic change. Self-care is key to making it through these next few days and beyond.
Here are some ways we’re coping:
Breathe with intention
Inhale for four, exhale for four. Count your breaths. Keep breathing.
We all cope with stress in different ways. Maybe it means your jaw is clenched. Maybe it means your shoulders are tight. Or, maybe it means your mind is running in circles and it’s difficult to focus. The simplest of actions, like enjoying a moment of silence while you breathe deeply can help reset your body and mind.
Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, or concerns. It’s okay to not be okay.
Feel what you feel. Scream. Cry. And allow others to do the same without judging your personal experience or others. Find a safe space for yourself to let yourself truly feel what’s going on.
Stop scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and your other social feeds without intention.
Do you feel miserable every time you log on to social media? It’s okay to sign out or delete an app or two. Turn off your phone. Put it on “do not disturb.” Don’t let yourself scroll aimlessly through social feeds when you notice harmful feelings arising.
Go for a run. Get your body moving. Take a stroll. Sit in a park.
Getting in some exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down. Staying in bed is so tempting, especially as the weather changes. Start out slow, by going for a walk around the block to clear your mind. But also, allow yourself that extra time to just lay your head if you need to.
Take a mental health day
Find ways to focus on your needs for an uninterrupted period of time, if you can.
If you can’t find extended time away, protect time in your schedule for a wellness practice at work. Take a walk during lunch. Journal for 15 minutes. Listen to your favorite music. Watch some nourishing or light-hearted tv. Cuddle your pets. Sit with those glorious in-between moments and celebrate them.
Make connection a priority
Engage in dialogue that seems constructive. Step away from conversations that seem divisive.
Reach out to the people who have your back no matter what. When you’re feeling drained, it’s okay to say “No.” Put yourself and your needs first.
Invest in community
Surprise a friend. Donate to a mutual aid fund or BIPOC-led community organization.
Send $5 to a friend so they can buy a morning coffee. Treat someone to lunch. Support your favorite local business. Fuel local movements. (Shoutout to author and activist Rachel Cargle who encourages investment in one another and in our collective mental health.)
Hold space for your BIPOC colleagues, friends and loved ones
Uplift each other.
This election season has been especially traumatic and emotionally wrought for our BIPOC communities. Take time to reach out to BIPOC friends and loved ones. Start off texts with “don’t feel the need to respond.” Hold space and listen.
When you’re ready, keep moving forward
Allow anger, sadness, anxiety, relief, joy to consume you. Then, allow it to fuel you.
Give yourself the space to transform. Propel your energy into your next step, your next passion project. We need you. Your community needs you.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”
– Angela Davis