I was so, so hopeful that last night’s election results would come in so overwhelmingly clear that we’d go to sleep easy, assured that the United States was actually . . . unified.
But, of course, that didn’t happen.
If you’re stress scrolling Twitter or raging at your friends’ Facebook posts today, may I recommend you stop RIGHT NOW and do some of these peaceful, centering activities instead? They’re a much better use of your time.
Read your Bible. We’re reading through the Bible this year, and it’s such a good reminder to see that the people of God went through dark times with terrible leaders. A good, fine Christian leader isn’t promised to America, but God is still faithful. One meme this morning said, “When Nebuchadnezzar is king, be a Daniel.” I found strength in that.
Keep on advocating. Children still need healthcare. Families are still separated at the border. The justice system still needs reforming. The sanctity of life still needs protection, from birth to death. You know that feeling in your heart that smarts for a minute when you read the news? Chase that; advocate; bring the kingdom of heaven a little closer to earth one action at a time.
Take a long bubble bath. Lock the door. Turn off the lights and light a candle. Play your favorite music or podcast, or read a book. Pour in some epsom salt or essential oils and let your worry soak away.
Call a friend. Check in on someone you haven’t talked to in a while. We were meant to live in community, and it really can bring life to our spirit—as long as it’s the right friend!
Bake. Baking, especially with my kids, reduces my stress so I’m all about some homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning.
Read well-informed, well-researched news. May we recommend the New York Times or NPR? I find the analysis based on actual statistics at FiveThirtyEight to be really centering. Or get a global perspective by seeing what BBC World News has to say?
Stop and take a deep breath. Count to five. Breathe in, breathe out. Do it again. Put your hand on your heart and slow your heart rate.
Write to your representatives. If you’re like me, you’re feeling really passionate about having your voice heard right now, so get specific. Write an email to your senators, your congressmen and -women, your local representatives. Let them know which issues you want them to be fighting for. And thank the ones who fought hard, but didn’t pull out victories last night. They need encouraging this morning too.
Resist the urge to be sarcastic. What we need right now most is civil discussion and debate over the real issues we face, not sarcastic attacks. Throwing fuel on the fire of social-media rabbit trails isn’t going to make you feel more peaceful right now.
Scream into a pillow. Literally. Do it.
Get some exercise. Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Kickbox. Get your kids involved. Make it fun. Burn some calories and get your serotonin production working for you today.
Clean your house. Like, every last bit of it. Pour your frustration into a deep clean of your bathroom grout. Use your nervous energy to get every splash and spill off your baseboards. Stretch your arms to dust the walls and ceiling fans. Turn on the loud music, make it a family event, and get into it. After you finish each room, check the returns, then move on to the next space and pour your energy into it again.
Pray. When you’re spiraling into worry, stop and pray. Center yourself. Know that God is present, and hear his voice in this moment.
Serve the marginalized. There are so many memes going around about how “whatever the outcome, know that God is on his throne.” We need to get along with our neighbors and know that everything is going to be fine. But for some, the results of this election have a much bigger impact than for others. Find the marginalized who are suffering from the strain of stress, oppression, and injustice, then do what you can to make the world a better place for them. Be the change, if you will.