A nonpartisan guide to surviving November 2016

This has been a weird year. Even people who avoid social media couldn’t get away from the craziness happening in the news. My day job involves being on social media often, so I had extra exposure to the chaos.

I have to confess that I was truly shocked by how much anxiety this election caused me. I’ve never put any political bumper stickers on my car, but I’ve always cared deeply about being informed about what’s happening in the world.

This year, national and international news hit my heart hard.

Here’s my suggestions about how to make it through November 2016.

6 Things You Can Do To Survive the Election & Beyond

1. Have a dinner party.

Invite people over for dinner in your home who you either disagree with politically or who have a very different life experience from you.

Let the entire focus be about you learning about them, understanding their story and their experience.

Surviving NovemberIf you don’t know who to ask, check your Facebook feed and see who has posted an article you disagree with. Say, “Hey, I’d like to get to know you better. I know you’ve had very different experiences than me and I’d like to learn about you and your life.”

Before they arrive, remind yourself about ways to be a good listener. When they come, ask questions, ask follow-up questions. Maybe even directly tell them when you invite them: “I realized I’ve never had a personal conversation with someone who is on the opposite side of {insert divisive political issue} and I’d like to hear your story and get to know you.” And then actually do that.

Don’t try to convince or argue. Take a posture of learning and listening.

2. Go to a local play.

There’s nothing like a live performance to give you the opportunity for meaningful catharsis, or even just a reason to do something fun you don’t normally splurge on.

My husband and I recently saw The Lion and it was breathtaking, unforgettable, and worth every single penny.

Suriving November 20163. Learn something new.

Spend 30 minutes learning about a specific issue that came up this year that you don’t know enough about.

Is there an issue or topic that you realized during this election you really don’t understand at all?

Maybe you’re embarrassed to admit it to anyone, or even to yourself. Maybe it’s just something that has never personally affected your life. Maybe it’s something you thought you had a handle on, but lately, you’ve realized it’s something you want to have a better grasp on.

Make sure to read about the issue from more than one perspective so you don’t get caught in an echo chamber that just confirms your current bias.

Surviving November 20164.Volunteer.

Find a local place where you can volunteer your time for a cause you believe in.

Whether it’s literacy tutoring at your library, a one-day beach-clean up, or a long-term investment in the work of a women’s shelter, find somewhere you can volunteer in-person and make a difference in your community.

It’s key that this involves your time connecting with real local humans, not just donating your money or your stuff.

Whether it’s 1-hour sorting donations at a food bank or a longer-term on going commitment, find a way get involved in a 15 mile radius of your home.

The presidential election can make people lose site of their local community and the real ways their choices can make a difference.

5. Journal.

Spend some time journaling and/or processing your thoughts about this election.

I’m a big fan of journaling so I can’t miss an opportunity to encourage self-reflection. In particular, if you experienced heightened anxiety (like me), write about why you think that is and what in particular was triggering or extra confusing.

This piece has some excellent suggestions and specific guidance about how to journal yourself out of a funk.

6. Join Tsh’s Upstream Field Guide.

Nope, she didn’t ask me to promote this, but I just think it’s so good (and reasonably priced!), I couldn’t resist mentioning it as something that could help you this month.

Upstream Field Guide

With all this stressful mess going on, it’s been helpful to me to zero in on my values, my priorities and how that plays out in my day to day life, not just on my ballot.

I really appreciate the straightforward path this course provides. There’s specific exercises to help you learn more about yourself, your values, your quirks, your passions, and how to take that information to guide your way forward. If you’re craving some meaningful personal development, then you won’t be disappointed.

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1 Comment

  1. Laura

    I appreciate this so much. I’m honing in on point number three about learning something new related to an important issue. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and realize that our minds need to be reopened. I had already made up my mind about the election after the primaries were over and didn’t even watch the debates. So when a family member suggested that the media misconstrued the candidates words, I was left speechless. I hadn’t watched the debates. Smug me.

    Humility is necessary to get us through this, while, as you said, rolling up our sleeves and working on the things that matter the most to us. And you’re right, it’s more than OK to unfollow, even family members who continue to bring up politics.

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