Joyful Living

Post-Election Blues

Bonjour!

As excited as I am about the result of the 2020 presidential election, I admit to feeling some post-election blues. I was so nervous about the showdown between president-elect Biden and Trump that I ran high on adrenaline and anxiety in the weeks running up to election day. Now that day (okay, fine, election week, a fitting anomaly for 2020) is past and I am coming down hard, an unexpected but not unsurprising reaction to one of the many stressful events dominating our lives this year.

I’m not the only one feeling a little bummed out. As the host of Saturday Night Live the weekend after election day, Dave Chappelle expressed his own misgivings and uncertainty about the state of America: “I can’t even tell something true unless it has a punch line behind it.” It’s fitting that Chappelle hosted SNL after the 2020 election as he did after that in 2016, when he noted, “I’m wishing Donald Trump luck . . . I’m going to give him a chance, and we the historically disenfranchised demand that he give us one too.” Le sigh.

While we are finally post-election, we are still very much mid-pandemic. It’s easy to dwell on the negative (for me, it’s almost a full-time hobby, but I brag). But I want to change and do better, and, as I’ve noted before, if we can’t commit to ourselves now during a pandemic when our mental and physical health matter more than ever, we never will.

So I am trying to focus on positive things like my safe, remote job teaching at a university, my healthy family, my refrigerator full of food. How could I possibly feel scared or sorry for myself when so many others can’t work from home, have gotten ill, or struggle to make financial end meet? I can acknowledge my own fears and worries, certainly, and not just dismiss them as unfounded or unwarranted, but I could also Stop Being Ridiculous when I could be Helping Others.

Helping others can take many forms. According to a new public service announcement from the German government, helping others means staying at home, or “Being as lazy as raccoons!” Personally, I take food to the food shelf, send money to the church, and volunteer remotely for the public library, working on projects like a laptop lending program and continuation of operations policy. I’m not patting myself on the back for these activities but highlighting how simple contributing from home can be.

Still, the most important thing we can all do is stay home as much as possible, wear a mask in public, and wash our hands. The baby showers and soccer games can – and should – wait.

As I try to focus on the positive and help others (yes, from the safety and comfort of my own home), there are some things that cannot wait. My own peace of mind, for example. I spend so much time worrying about the health of my family and other things I can’t control that I’ve neglected to find time to relax and restore.

Pandemic Self-Care Ideas

  • Take a bath. Some spa time at home soothes the soul and is an easy way to make time for simple pleasures. Lavender and low lighting. Catalogs and chocolates. Tea and wine (not mixed together). Get those bubbles going!
  • Get some sleep. If you’re feeling jittery or waking up or lying awake for long stretches in the night, consider cutting caffeine and alcohol back or even out of your diet. There was a time where I needed caffeine to get going in the morning, alcohol to unwind after work, and the occasional tipple of NyQuil to get to sleep. I weaned myself off all three now have a glass of wine as a weekly treat.
  • Be the person you need. A tip I learned from my friend Ryan of Birmingham, Alabama. If you feel sad, cheer someone up. If you feel lonely, check in on someone. If you need help, offer to help work colleagues or neighbors. Et cetera.

How are you keeping your spirits up this fall?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,

Katie

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