So there it is, it’s official. The election is behind us and now what.
Many are asking themselves that very question right now. Now what? How do I go on?
Of course, because we’ve told our news media we want the bad news, we’re already hearing the horror stories of little kids telling their classmates they’d better pack because they’re being sent “home”, despite being born here to parents who were born here.
Women have reached out to each other both asking for, and giving, permission to stop wearing their hijabs.
Protests are breaking out all across the country – from peaceful to violent and everything in between.
Swastikas are showing up on public buildings.
Passports are being brought out and inspected, monies counted and a number of citizens are preparing to leave for as long as they can.
Those who can are retreating from the world, trying to get their heads clear. Those who can’t may feel trapped in a world suddenly spinning our of control
What can we do
Eat well. By that I mean eat nutritional food that will give your body fuel. This is not a moment for rich foods, for processed foods nor for indulgence in sweets. Those things can come later. Right now your digestion is having to assimilate a great deal, not only your own shock but the shock waves coming off your friends, family and community. Our bodies digest everything the same place, the Earth element or centre. So if you treat your body kindly right now you’ll be able to assimilate (digest) more effectively.
Stay hydrated. My patients know my feelings about plain water, and right now is the time to avoid too much cooling, but dehydration comes with shock. And no matter how this election turned out for you, most of us experienced shock. So your respiration has been increased and you’ve dried yourself out. Good ways to combine eating well and staying hydrated are having very loose oatmeal. The oat water is excellent for re-hydrating your body, the oats are nourishing as well as being easy to digest. And the warmth is comforting to your centre. Of course if you’re allergic to oats this is not good so you’ll need to pick another grain. The idea here is to prepare it much wetter than you might normally do. You can use chicken or beef stock or bone broth instead of all or part of the water (yes, even with oatmeal). Add in some nutritious seeds. Right now the body will really appreciate black sesame seeds. Men can use pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and there’s always ch-ch-ch-chia which is a whole nutritional powerhouse in itself.
Sleep. This is not the time to stay up binge watching anything. This is the time to get your 8 hours of shut eye, and possibly more. Initially you may be too keyed up to sleep. If so, a sleep aid may be required, but before you try that do this simple meditation (eek, I said the word):
Lie as comfortably as you can in bed. On your back is great if you can but if need be you can lie on your side.
Mentally or out loud say “I enjoy deep and restful sleep”
Take a deep breath in through your nose, release it slowly out through your relaxed mouth. Repeat this three more times.
Now, take a deep breath and hold for a count of four, then release it slowly. Sometimes it helps to count the whole cycle so it would be in for four, hold for four, out for four. Repeat this several times. Once you get the hang of the rhythm, begin focusing on various parts of your body as you exhale. For example, the air is leaving your body and carrying with it the tension in your toes, then next time your ankles, then your lower legs etc.
If you just drift off to a gentle sleep doing this, that’s the best possible outcome. If not, once you’ve scanned your whole body, do two slow breaths in and right back out. Then you can stop mindfully breathing, scootch around to get comfortable and go to sleep.
Move it. Move your body. Not just exercising at the gym. Put on some B-52s and frug to Rock Lobster. Moving around the way you do when dancing moves your whole body’s Qi. Not a frug-ster or maybe (how could this be?) not a B52s fan? Fine, find something that encourages you to move. Bounce, twist, fling your arms around, reach up, reach down, shake your tush, stomp your feet. In general make every bit of you body shake allowing all that stuck Qi to start moving.
Talk. Talk to your family, friends and co-workers. The divisive campaign is behind us and now we need to come together for the next four years. I know, I know. Not without reason, this election is seen as a referendum, a condemnation and a victory all in the same election. Which is EXACTLY why we need to have conversation. I have too often seen the result of not-talking. Anxiety, concern, anger, frustration, fear, joy, love – they can all get stuck in the body and the body-mind. That stuck-ness feeds itself and pretty soon we’re believing an inner monologue that doesn’t actually have any grounding in reality. At least not our shared reality. It does become one’s own reality. And functioning out of that tightly bound reality leads to making bad decisions. Sometimes they’re decisions one can recover from, sometimes they’re not.
Listen. Seriously. Listen to what is being said. Take your personal ego-involvement out of the conversation. Listen to the pain, joy, fear, plans and just plain rants. Listen for venting versus planning. Be there, really present, when you’re listening. It’s not easy, it takes practice and this seems like the best time to start that practice.
Support one another. Depending on the real or perceived danger to you, your family and your friends you make more or fewer plans. But make them anyway. Know the contact info for the suicide hotline, poison control, rape counselling, clergy or spiritual support, domestic violence support and whatever is appropriate for your group. Check in on your vulnerable members of course, but check in with the toughies too. Sometimes after absorbing all they can for everyone else, they’re the ones who crumble. Get accustomed to asking and answering questions about mental state, where’s your head at today. Make your twitter/FB/whatever time count. Come up with a way to communicate when you can’t talk. Maybe an emoji that means “I need help but can’t talk about it right now”, maybe something else. Be each other’s support. We either lean on each other or we traverse the world alone. Why try to do it alone?
Use your mind. Letting your mind have any time to itself right now and you may find it keeps running around screaming something non-useful. If you put your mind to use, learning or expanding something your either already love to do or haven’t learnt but have always wanted to, you can keep it calmer. Once this initial shock begins to wear off you may find you continue your hobby time. Enjoy your hobbies especially those that get you learning. Read books, garden, go for walks in nature, tear computers apart, solve advanced mathematical problems, write computer code, pursue art. Do whatever fills you with joy. And if you can include stepping a bit out of your usual comfort zone, that’s all to the good.
This is just a beginning. Healing our wounds is more complicated than this. This is a beginning to allow our bodies and body minds to assimilate the new reality. As time moves forward we’ll have more challenges. That’s a given. But with good habits to fall back on, the support of friends and loved one, open communication and active interests, we’re in a much better place to deal with what comes.