Grieving an Election Loss
Grieving an Election Loss
For a lot of people today, the world feels as though it’s been turned on it’s side. People have been up all night, searching for answers and if they got any sleep at all they are now in a position to have to go to work, do what is expected of them for the day, all under the shadow of grief. People feel like their country has been given a terminal diagnosis, and they don’t yet know the pain of the battles that are ahead. They look to see everything they have to lose, the life they have been able to lead after presidents who have supported their rights, and fear for the changes that are to come.
You might feel overwhelmed, powerless, confused, sad, angry, isolated, and hopeless all at the same time. All of these emotions at once will eat you alive. You’re grieving many different losses at once, which complicates your reaction to it. Here are some things to do to help you through this difficult time, in no particular order.
1. Turn off the news
Journalists, bloggers, and writers are working their tails off trying to give you a perspective on this. There’s only so much that will be processed for you to consume on an hourly basis. You don’t have to check out completely, but schedule a time to check in every 4 hours or so. After last night and this morning, your brain needs a rest. Turn it off, go outside, gaze at the sky and connect to the fact that the world has seen awful, scary times in the past. It has endured. So can you, for this moment.
2. Get some sleep
A lot of you were up all night. On the East coast the outcome didn’t become clear until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, and after that many people couldn’t turn off the news. Once it became apparent that their side was losing, many couldn’t sleep and stayed up all night processing or fighting with friends, family, and acquaintances on social media. Make plans to go to bed early tonight.
So much has happened, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write about what you’re feeling. What are your fears? Your hopes? Imagine yourself four or eight years from now. What would your future self tell you to do?
4. Find an anchor
I have heard a lot of people finding solace in their children and animals today. Their world (for now) is unchanged. They look to you for love and support and to tell them everything will be okay. Play with them, engage in their world, even if for a moment to forget what has happened and give yourself a break. If there aren’t dogs or kids in your life, put your energy into something you can control. Cook a meal and have friends over (see #5). Go for a hike, go to church, play music, participate in a craft.
5. Connect with friends
Make plans to get together with friends tonight. Hug each other and allow yourselves to talk through your hopes and fears. Allow yourselves to mourn this loss together. Grief is too much to handle alone.
6. Find kindness for yourself and others
If you must be on social media, challenge yourself to write a kind thing to someone. We need each other in grief. “It’ll be okay” is not going to fly, because you wouldn’t tell that to someone diagnosed with cancer. Now is not the time to fight with the doctor that gave you the diagnosis. It’s time to go be with your loved ones, resting, building strength, and finding a way to fight the battle ahead together.