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How to Deal with an Election Hangover
Politics may not be your favourite topic of conversation but super important nonetheless. The politicians we elect have a direct impact on our daily lives. Voting is a powerful act but sometimes your candidate doesn’t get elected and that can be disappointing to say the least. Sometimes the elected officials have a different lived experience than you do and cut programs that are vital to your health and wellbeing. It’s not going to be easy but here are some coping strategies to help get you through to the next election.
Get Involved - If you have spare time volunteer with an organization that works on the issues you care about. If you don’t have time but you have some extra money consider donating to a cause you care about. Democracy is about more than what you do on election day.
Be a Lifelong Learner - Continue to learn more about the causes you care about. Read, learn and grow. By the time the next election rolls around you’ll be able to debate like nobody's business.
Learn About the Process - Many cities have youth governments and/or youth councils. Join them or attend a few meetings. Doing so will help you learn more about the issues in your community and how the political process works.
Cross the Bridge - Connect with people with different perspectives than yourself, if it’s emotionally and physically safe to do so. I suggest this for two reasons, firstly you will be better able to shape your own views if you know the opposing teams position. Secondly it will humanize the other side for you, I think we all too often get sucked up in the us vs. them divide. This can actually divide our community and make it harder to work towards basic community betterment. Recognize that we are all human, working with someone is much easier than working against someone.
Protect Your Time & Energy - Recognize that some people are not open to other people's perspectives. Protect your energy and move along.
Give yourself a break - Sometimes I feel like I’m never doing enough, there are so many things in this world that need addressing. This generally leads me to overdo it which actually works against me in the long run because I’m so burnt out. Learn from my mistakes and give yourself time to recharge.
Start a New Hobby - Try something new, especially something creative because these skills can help amplify political demonstrations and bring attention to issues that that would otherwise be ignored. Focusing on something new will give you the opportunity to see things from a fresh perspective.
Pay Attention to Current Events - Keep an eye on what the new government is doing. If you don’t like what they’re doing let them know, write letters, make calls. You have the right to voice your opinion. Use it and work towards change.
The Buddy System - Find a supportive group of people to connect with, they might be going through the same thing. Spend time debriefing when things get especially tough.
Get Outside - It’s a great way to get active, refresh your brain, meet your fellow community members and observe how your community is doing.
I hope these tips help. You are important, even if your government may not represent some of your deeply-held beliefs. If you are struggling connect with one of the following helplines:
Kathryn is a recent MSW graduate currently trying to #adult. She is a former mindyourmind staff and continues to work in the youth & community development sectors. In her spare time, she is a proud plant parent, home chef and avid volunteer.
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