The results of last week's election in the U.S. have taken a toll on me.
Out the window went self-care, and in walked:
- Emotional eating - Hello, pizza and chocolate!
- Lethargy - Laying on the couch under a blanket unable to put my phone down.
- Listlessness - Pacing around the house and my office without any purpose.
- Apathy - Doing the dishes, making meals, errands, chores, and work all seemed pointless.
- Overwhelm - "Where do we go next?" "Is there anything I can do?" "Well, that's it, right?"
I wasn't angry.
I was terrified. I was shocked. I was deeply saddened.
I wasn't going through denial ("This can't be happening." "This isn't happening." "There must be some mistake.").
I wasn't going through bargaining ("Well, the Electoral College could still change it." "Maybe the campaign promises were just to get into office.").
And then I definitely hit the fourth stage of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief: depression.
Before finding acceptance, I realized I needed to move through numbness.
I let myself sit with:
- Hopelessness - "The country's going to shit no matter what I do."
- Nausea - Stress tends to show up in my stomach. Nausea is a sign I'm seriously out of balance.
- Restless sleep - I was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep.
- Social isolation - "Who is out there? Will they hurt me? Will they say something about my son? Who is an ally?"
- Irritability - I felt disconnected from my spouse. He felt disconnected from me. We picked fights with each other.
With love and compassion, I allowed myself to process the experience not just mentally, but emotionally and physically as well.
And as the numbness began to thaw and some sensation and feeling returned, in my head I heard Layla Martin say:
As you recover from numbness, return to self care.
For me that means:
- Better sleep - Turning off the news, getting off Facebook, and going to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Moving my body - Taking walks, doing yoga, and even cleaning the house.
- Eating nourishing foods - One meal at a time. A healthy breakfast, having a healthy dinner out, and realizing healthy lunches will come, too.
- Prioritizing - Knowing my values and how to use my time and energy wisely.
- Smiling and playing - Interacting with my kids and spending time with friends.
As depression thaws and numbness rescinds, the way back to love and joy is through connection.
Finding connection with people who share our grief and heartbreak will help us know we are not alone.
Once we're grounded in community, we can reassess with a clear mind and connected body to take meaningful action.
We will get through this together with love and strength.
Thinking of you,