Disappointed, recovering, inspired: 5 ways to deal with the election results

Beau Cameron poses for meditation shot.

graphic by Nicole Muller

Beau Cameron poses for meditation shot.

by Beau Cameron, Editor

On November 8th, Donald Trump won the majority of electoral college votes for President of the United States. For many people of color, Muslims, women, the LGBTQA+ community, and 57 million Americans, this loss was a crushing blow. However, the unwelcome vote doesn’t have to define or destroy us, the “losers.” 

I woke up on the 9th absolutely terrified: for my friends, my sister, for myself.

“It’s like the LGBTQA+ community woke up with their basic rights at risk, and women woke up with object written across their foreheads,” said Anti-Trump advocate and sophomore Caitlyn Cook.

In the great scheme of history, this election will be remembered as another obstacle in our struggle for equality. Still, it is a dark time for us. It is a time of fear.

I believe we will persevere. I am no psychologist or therapist, but I offer the five ways I have been dealing with this defeat.

Cry it out.

Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Crush the stereotype that men and women who cry are weak. We all need a good cry every once in awhile. Get your frustrations out. Scream at the sky. Use up a box of tissues. Allow yourself to honestly express your emotions instead of bottling your worries inside. Having feelings is not a sign of weakness; it’s proof that you’re human.

Have a talk with yourself.

Stand in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eyes. List your current stressors to yourself. It’s natural for this to feel worse at first. Continue. Then once you’ve listed your stressors, tell yourself which ones should be prioritized. Determine which ones can be put aside for later. Remind yourself that you cannot do everything, and you are not expected to. Remind yourself that even if one thing does not get done, it is not the end of the world. 

Quiet your mind.

I meditate regularly. While I understand that this is not for everyone, I find meditation to be a useful way to calm myself down and give myself time to relax. If meditation is not for you, lose yourself in a book or painting for an hour. News of the election will be circulating for a long time, so turn off the news for awhile. Let your worries settle themselves, so that when you face them again, you do so with a relaxed mind.

Comfort is key.

Whether this comfort comes from talking to a friend on the phone for an hour, spending some time with a sibling, snuggling with a pet, or even taking time to relax alone, comfort yourself. You deserve to take some time for yourself. Remember, this fight started in 2015, not on election day. Your responsibilities can wait for an hour. Nothing will fall apart just because you took a break. In reality, you will probably be more productive once you’ve calmed yourself down.

Ask a friend to text you an encouraging message . . . or two, or three.

This one sounds a little strange, but it has helped me on several occasions. Text a trusted friend and tell them that you need a reminder that things will be okay, or that you’re a good person, or just to take a deep breath. The text may extend to paragraphs detailing how this will not impact you in the grand scheme of things, or it could be just a few words, a simple “everything will be all right.” Sometimes, that’s all you need to hear.

For those of us who feel threatened by the uncertainty of the new administration and and its published platform, I know you are are not feeling okay. Yes, it is important to take time to heal from this blow, but once we do, it will be time to fight. Civil protests have already begun across America and more are being planned.  There will be a “Women’s March on Washington” on January 21.  We have the power to challenge Donald Trump’s bigotry. We can survive, even if we have to fight for the right to.