7 Ways to Cope When Bad Things Happen
When Bad Things Happen
If you live in another country and follow my blog, you may be wondering about my thoughts on the election of Donald Trump.
I’ve been going through the seven stages of grief.
For decades I’ve been voting and everyone knows that you win some, you lose some; this is the first time ever though that I’ve felt scared by the outcome. Yes, I was pro Hillary, and although I’m saddened that we won’t make history with the first woman president, that’s not why I was crying Tuesday night. I am legitimately frightened that Donald Trump is in charge of the nuclear codes.
I could cite my reasons about why I feel he’s a dangerous man, but what’s the point? The voters have spoken…sort of. Even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost a quarter million more votes, Trump won the Electoral College, the only votes that matter in choosing our executive branch.
He is the president-elect and all Americans get to deal with that reality. As I explained to my children, democracy is messy. We have to hope that Trump will rise above his character flaws and be successful, because he’s now running one branch of our government. Which brings me to my topic today:
7 Ways to Cope When Bad Things Happen
On election night I posted a picture of a bottle of rum next to the vote calculations, because I really, really wanted a drink. Or to at least eat some comfort food. I did neither, because why should I let Donald Trump make me gain weight, right? Here are some coping techniques I’ve used in the past that I’ve been using this week.
- Separate What You Can and Can’t Control. It’s important to keep in mind that even though you can’t control the outside world you can control your reaction to events. This is always the case, whether you’re dealing with your mother dying of cancer or a bigoted orange Popsicle taking over the government. You are not some helpless victim, you have power.
- Take Action. The action that you take depends upon your personality. You can fight, like the protesters did throughout several cities who chanted, “Not my president!” We have the freedom of speech, so make your voice heard. On the flip side you can flee the country. Did you know that the Canadian immigration website crashed on election night? True story. But it’s up and running now, so there’s always that option. Even if you don’t switch citizenship, you can always update your passport so you can take an extended vacation until 2020 (hypothetically).
Sometimes I exercise for vanity; this week it was for sanity. Exercise releases endorphins which calm you down, increases oxygen flow to your brain to help you think clearer and helps you sleep better.
- Emotions Are Normal. They really are. It’s totally fine to cry or punch the wall to release that anger. My daughter and I were both crying and that’s ok because disappointment is part of life and bottling it up is never helpful. I also find it helpful to write down my feelings (hence this blog post) because it clears my mind of cluttered thoughts.
- Clean Up Your Comfort Food. Some people use alcohol or drugs as a crutch. I typically reach for chocolate chip cookies or mac n’ cheese and that’s not helpful either. Why let life add extra pounds to your waist and mess up your psyche in the process? Seriously, does anyone feel better twenty minutes after eating a box of cookies? The ideal situation is to just not use food as a friend at all. Under normal circumstances I can do that. But old habits die hard, so I’ve made peace with cleaning up my comfort food. When I’m really upset now I’ll eat ½ cup of old fashioned oatmeal with a little Stevia. It’s warm, sweet, low-calorie, and a good complex carbohydrate.
- Look on the Bright Side. There is always a bright side. (Even a broken clock is right twice a day.) Levity helps. For example, it’s a known fact that the presidency tends to whiten men’s hair. I’m excited to see how his comb-over will look after dealing with Congress for four years.
- Perspective. As a nation we’ve survived the American Revolution, slavery, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Great Recession, World Wars I & II, the Sexual Revolution, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and 80’s fashions. All of us have overcome personal setbacks where we look back and wonder how we ever made it through that time in our life, but we did. As the saying goes, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Today I wrote about mental health, tomorrow I’ll go back to writing about physical health.
Whatever stressful situation you may be going through, hang in there. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you do have power, even if it’s just the power of your thoughts.
As for me, I didn’t vote for Trump and I’m not giving up on America. This is my country and where I’m raising my kids.
This too shall pass.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX.
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