10 Ways to Cope With What Just Happened

Here are three: Make room for your grief, be with friends, and don’t dismiss the people who voted for Donald Trump.
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Photo by LPETTET / iStock.

As did many of you, I watched Tuesday night’s returns with a mix of horror and fear. Fear for our warming planet, for our sense of decency, for our future. Those feelings are real and justified, so we should all take the moments we need to understand what has just happened. And then? There is much to be done.

Here are 10 things I will do to ready myself for what lies ahead. You may find them helpful, too.

1. Ground yourself

Breathe deeply. Go to a favorite spot in nature and really be there. Meditate. Find a favorite poem, reading, religious passage that has helped you before and read it quietly.

2. Allow the grief 

Don’t suppress your feelings of fear, dread, anger, grief. Just allow them. But don’t wallow there; move on when you’re ready.

And allow other feelings to arise, too—they may surprise you.

3. Be with friends 

This is a time for community. Share your feelings, your insights, your fears—and, especially, your hopes. Hug a lot.

4. Take a media break

Keep up with the news, but turn off the endless rehashing of painful stuff that you already know.

5. Take care of the children

Yours, neighbors’, grandchildren. They will sense your fear, and the very young won’t understand it. Reassure them that they are safe.

6. Reach out to anyone threatened 

There are people who are especially afraid: immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, Latinos. Speak up and show solidarity.

7. Don’t dismiss the Trump voters

Remember that many of his supporters voted from a place of anger and despair about many of the same things for which you feel anger and despair: all the wealth going to the already wealthy, corporations getting all the breaks while everyone else feels stiffed, political power wielded by the very rich.

8. Think local

I’ll bet on Tuesday night there was something (maybe many things) on your local ballot to celebrate. Embrace them. And find the many ways in addition to electoral politics to make change in your community, your town, your state.

9. Take care of yourself

Yes, eat some comfort food—but then take those walks, do those yoga stretches. The whole world needs your energy, your health, your vision. There is much to be done.

10. Take the long view

Martin Luther King’s words can hold us: “The long arc of history bends toward justice.”