I have struggled with what to say to you, as I know that people are still in many different places. For many of us, this entire election has been jarring and even shocking. And for almost everyone I know, the outcome was a surprise.
However you are reacting and whatever you are feeling, the first task is take care of yourself and to be kind to others (and to yourself) in the days and weeks ahead. Stay connected to other people who matter to you.
Remember that we all have to respond in our own ways. The time will come for each one of us when we can see clear steps for action. Take a breath, and then identify what about this election "pushed your buttons" and think about how to take action on that. Then, when you're ready, figure out something you can do -- however big or small -- and do it.
Know that in the months and years to come, we will continue to work for a more just, more peaceful, and more equal society. There is far too much at stake for us to not continue -- when each of us is ready.
Finally, I have adapted the following from a message I received a couple of month ago from the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute <http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.
We all deal with traumatic or unexpected events in different ways: shock, anger, grief, revenge, self-blame, and shame are all parts of the seemingly endless flood of emotions. Grief affects people emotionally, physically and spiritually. The impact of trauma, grief, and loss may come up for us anywhere or anytime along our healing journey.
Drink water. Don't forget to eat. Rest. Grief can impact us physically and make it harder for us to meet our basic needs. Pay attention to how your body reacts and responds. Prioritize taking care of your body.
Do what you love. Go to places that you love. Grief can feel inescapable. Sometimes we can be comforted by remembering what we're passionate about, what we're good at, what fulfills us, and what gives us pleasure. Spend time doing what feeds you and what keeps your spirit healthy - giving ourselves time to rejuvenate may give us the resolve we need to keep going.
Give yourself permission to "shut off" and disconnect from social media. TV, radio, and social media can cause secondary trauma. You have the right to choose not to watch or listen to news stories or social media posts that are disturbing and dehumanizing. Be aware of what you choose to share and why with others who may also be feeling grief. Telling our truth about what's happening in our world is essential; it is also important to consider our intent and impact on others.
Ask for help and support. Asking for help is so difficult for most of us. Try it on anyway. Be as honest as you can. Let your loved ones know if you need company or if you need space. If you need to talk about your feelings but don't know how, one option is to let your friends know, "I'd like to share what I'm feeling, but I don't need feedback in the moment."
Surround yourself with love. Speak with friends who you trust to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Spend time with people who give you positive energy through compassion, patience, and support without judgment.
You don't have to have the right words for others. Your brief embrace, a press of your hand, and a few words of empathy can speak more than you know. Avoid trying to fix, save, advise, or correct anyone or how they're feeling.
Comfort the children. Children's reactions are often overlooked or missed. They need to express strong emotions that may seem awkward to others. As difficult or uncomfortable as it may be for you, the greatest gift you can give the children is to give them the freedom and permission to cry openly. Being able to release their pent-up emotions will help them cope with what feels overwhelming and never ending. These resources that the Cambridge Public Schools shared emphasize the importance of sustaining a sense of caring, safety, and mutual respect within our schools and community:
- ·National Association of School Psychologists: NASP Guidance for Reinforcing Safe, Supportive and Positive Environments for All Students
- ·What Do We Tell the Children? Tell them, first, that we will protect them