Yesterday I wrote a “How to Rock a Pantsuit” post as a way to playfully and stylishly celebrate what I believed to be the certain and inevitable election of our first female president. It was my way of being sheepishly political while staying ‘on brand’ (as we bloggers must do). But I didn’t get the pleasure of clicking ‘Publish,’ and for that I am devastated. Today I woke up to shock and anger plastered all over my Facebook feed. The negativity sent me even further into a black-hole-shame-spiral of despair. What could I possibly write about, and what could I possibly do to remain strong and engaged and positive? First I turned off FB and Twitter. And then I drafted a list of ideas for beating the post-election blues. ‘Blues’ is clearly a euphemism for my current state, but I have a feeling my shock will soon dissipate into a blurred haze of well, blues. No one gives a crap about outfits or makeup or skincare today, so let’s go off-brand and think about ways we could each be more productive by taking some individual actions of love and positivity.
SUPPORT A CAUSE AND GIVE TO CHARITY: Now more than ever would be a good time to bolster – either with your time or your money – the causes you support. Women, education, employment, race, immigration, religion, human rights, or whatever else it may be, take some time today to renew your involvement and commitment. Planned Parenthood, Transgender Law Center, Dress for Success, The Goodwill and Sama Group are my own personal starting points. Recommendations welcome for other charities – particularly anti-racism organizations.
TOUCH BASE WITH FRIENDS AND SHARE LOVE: Send a text to a friend or give them a call to share some love and positivity today. There’s a lot of hate and negativity right now, so go high while everyone else is going low by strengthening your bonds with your people and your support system. We will need each other in the months to come, so let’s start today.
PROVIDE A SAFE SPACE: To go a little further on the idea above – offer the people you do know who have expressed concern about their safety, a secure place to land if they really do feel in danger. Give him a ride, or walk with her down the street, or be aware and ready to help someone on the subway who might be obviously at risk.
GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER: Knowing that businesses and economies face minor and major changes in the near and distant future made me want to get a hold on where I stand with all my accounts, benefits, credit scores/reports, debts, savings and goals. Then I can take quick and informed action if I need to down the line. I use the app LearnVest to track my progress against my financial goals, and I’d love some other recs from readers.
SNUGGLE YOUR PETS: Studies have shown that spending time playing with and petting animals boosts your mental health and improves behavior. Take some extra time walking your dog or chilling with your cat today, and soak up all the love they’ll give. There’s a mural near my house that says “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” I’m going to use that as my mantra today so that I’m acting the way I want the rest of the world to see me and other Americans.
EXERCISE: You may want to sit at home and wallow with wine and ice cream on the couch today (that idea is coming up next), but if you have even an ounce of energy to get up and get moving, do it. Endorphins can temporarily boost your mood and you’ll burn off some of the leftover Halloween candy you emotionally ate all the way through last night’s election coverage (Almond Joys and Reese’s cups to be exact).
DRINK COCKTAILS AND EAT COMFORT FOOD: For those of you with no will to exercise, why not self-soothe with a little booze and snackage? You could support your community while you do it by choosing a locally-brewed beer or you could honor America as a land of opportunity by eating at a restaurant that is owned by immigrants and serves the cuisine of their native country. You can also just wallow on the couch with wine and ice cream (but then see the idea above again).
SHOP: Here’s my personal favorite, obviously – who doesn’t love a little retail therapy to make themselves feel better? Go out there and pump some dollars back into the economy by purchasing a killer pantsuit. I was oddly drawn to this red, white and blue shirt I’m wearing in the photo above – it’s off the Banana Republic sale rack. I’m not feeling particularly patriotic today, but in the spirit of contributing positively to my sphere of interest, it seemed oddly apropos. I did get a lot of side-eye from folks who were clearly skeptical of my political choices based on my clothing today, by the way, so perhaps it wasn’t the best decision.
MAKE A BUCKET LIST: Creating a list of all of the adventurous and wondrous things in this world you’d like to conquer and see can fill you with hope and energy. Perhaps you can even put a target date next to a few of them that falls within the next four years so that you have something personally productive to achieve during a time of uncertainty. The highlight of my list is climbing Machu Picchu – why wait to plan it?!
BOOK A VACATION OR EXPLORE REAL ESTATE IN OTHER COUNTRIES: This one is for those escapists with some extra cash who simply cannot deal and need to lie on a beach or visit another country. And even if you’re not actually planning to leave the country, why not daydream a bit at all the options out there you could buy if you had limitless resources? How much is a castle in Nice? A beach house in Ibiza? An apartment in San Miguel de Allende? Choose the house of your dreams and give yourself 5 minutes of freedom to pretend you’re moving there.
SEEK OUT MEDITATION & HAPPINESS PODCASTS: Keep calm and don’t abandon the pursuit of happiness – your unalienable right! Instead, drown out some of today’s noise by turning off the news and listening to a guided meditation. I also love Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast which offers practical tips and tricks for improving your daily life.
VENT: And hey, if you can’t stay off social media and you need to let it rip, go for it. Something struck me today, though: our FB rantings often fall on the ears of those who already believe what we do. The algorithm is such that the more likes we get, the more visibility our posts get among our community of friends. But if many of our friends already believe what we do, we’re not necessarily penetrating other spheres and changing the minds of those who believe the opposite just because we spoke our minds on social media. Am I wrong in thinking that FB is a closed loop of preaching to the choir? And if it really is, then I’m sticking to my guns of finding alternate methods for engaging my people, my community and my sphere.
None of these solutions will completely solve our feelings of devastation or disbelief at the outcomes of yesterday’s election and of course some of them are intended to be light-hearted, but they are also a way to release the pressure valve and to make it easier to wake up tomorrow (and the next day) without spreading more hate.