Having a hard time post-election?

I’ve been hearing a lot from people who were shocked by the results of the recent election, and also surprised by how strong their feelings of grief, anger, fear and depression have been since Trump was elected president.

Here are some tips for coping if you have been having a hard time:

1. Know that it’s not unusual to have a strong reaction to the election; people seem to be responding more intensely to this election than they have to past elections.

2. Research suggests that suppressing your emotions can actually make you feel worse, so let yourself feel what you feel. At the same time, if emotions get overwhelming, do something to take a break and and take care of yourself. For example, you could take a soothing bath, distract yourself with a mental task (try counting backwards from 100 by 7s), or take some slow, deep breaths.

3. It’s important to get support and talk about your experience with people. Try to choose people who you trust will be able to listen thoughtfully and respect your point of view. Talking to others gives you a place to ¬†express your feelings, and can help you feel less alone.

4. If Trump’s election is triggering feelings or memories related to sexual abuse/ assault, be gentle with yourself and get support. Your response is not unusual, and it’s ok to say no if you don’t feel like being sexual.

5. If you’re feeling stuck, helpless, powerless, hopeless or depressed, it may help to take action. That action could be signing a petition, making a donation, doing some volunteer work, or just being kind to someone who looks like they could use some support. Speaking up and speaking out may help break through feelings of depression and isolation, as long as you are thoughtful in choosing your audience.

6. Be an ally. Whether you are in a position of relative privilege, or feel personally endangered by a Trump presidency, if you have the bandwidth to be of service and support others whose rights are being threatened or violated, it may help you feel stronger and more connected, and give you something to feel proud of. If you don’t have the bandwidth, see #7.

7. Have compassion for yourself. You will have times when you feel better and times when you feel worse; try to ride your feelings out like ocean waves. Try not to do things to cope that will harm you or others– be safe– and be gentle with yourself.

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