Today is admittedly a difficult and confusing day. I’d much rather be at home, tucked away in the safety and comfort of my bed, than at work, and I’m sure so many of you feel similarly. I woke up yesterday morning optimistic and confident in a “Clinton” win. Why the quotation marks? I didn’t believe in Hillary Clinton the candidate, but I did believe in her and the Democratic party’s beliefs and ideals. I think of First Lady Michelle Obama’s beautiful speech on acting with decency, on being a good human being. I think of all of the progress the Obama Administration has made towards same-sex marriage and women’s rights. Of course no administration is perfect, but I knew we were all heading in the right direction…a direction that pointed towards greater freedom, justice, and equality for all. Where the pursuit of happiness wasn’t just a dream for some, but a reality for everyone. Perhaps this was all too optimistic, too much of an ideal, but I believed that if we kept pressing on, we would continue to see better and brighter days for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.
I try to keep religion and politics separate from the work I do as a teacher and a blogger, but I think it would be irresponsible and, quite frankly, unrealistic to expect me not to weigh in here. I write this post knowing there are some people who are over the moon, pleased and excited about last night’s election results, but I also know there are others who are feeling deflated and devastated. This has been one of the most bizarre elections. Between the ebb and flow of debates, political ads, SNL skits, and analytical news correspondents, the election has brought out the absolute worst in people. Whether we want to admit it or not, it has taken an emotional toll on each of us. Hillary Clinton has officially conceded. Donald Trump has made his victory speech. And now that it’s finally over, what do we do? Well, we make time and room to care for ourselves. But how?
Talk it out. With every classroom I enter or student or colleague I face, I can feel the tears well up and emotions run wild. I’m trying to keep it together, and I’m sure so many of you are as well, but what I’ve found is that it’s more helpful and beneficial to you and your well-being to share…even if it’s just a little bit and even if it’s writing in a journal. Have you heard of the mood meter? Take a look and recognize where you are on the scale. Ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. Determine how you’re showing those feelings, and whether or not it’s helpful. If yes, figure out how you will maintain them. And if not, come up with a new strategy to help shift those feelings.
Unplug. As much as I enjoy social media and socializing, constantly staying tuned in to the post-election frenzy is not only too much to handle, but also affecting you in ways you might not realize. Take a day off from school or work (if you can). Take a break from the hate speech, slander, lies, and negativity, and do something (non-election related) you enjoy. Exercise, watch a funny movie, cook your favorite meal, knit a sweater, learn a new language. Whatever brings you joy, do that, because Lord knows we need more happiness today than ever before.
Meditate. This has been quite a divisive election, and the results indicate that there is a majority of people who live their lives through a different lens. Breathe, focus, appreciate our differences, and recognize our similarities. Try using this compassionate guided meditation practice.
Grieve. Whether you’re on the winning side or losing side, we have to accept the people’s choice. This is a tough loss for many, and hopefully we won’t take several steps back and lose the progress and momentum we’ve built for the last several years, but do give yourself a reasonable amount of time to properly grieve, seek support and support others.
Carry on. There is work to do! Hopefully last night’s election results will inspire, motivate, and energize people to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done to affect positive change–change that will benefit everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. We’ve come too far to give up now, to grow complacent and hopeless.
I come from a people who have experienced the worst of the worst, and still we rise. The days may seem dark and dreary now, but together, if we remain hopeful and steadfast, caring and compassionate, open and accepting, and act with humanity and purpose, we will get through this, we will rise above this, and we will be a greater nation and a stronger people. This I believe.
Sending hugs and so much love your way,