How to ease post-election anxiety with mindfulness

By Brooke Weber, content editor

It might be hard to believe, but the 2020 U.S. presidential election is over – and Joe Biden won!

Yet, the election and Trump’s denials of his loss have led to much anxiety. And things have worsened as his violent followers, in a cult-like fashion, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, leading to five deaths.

Many are fearful of more violence – and rightfully so.

Along with these very real fears, you may have already been experiencing post-election anxiety, sometimes referred to as post-election stress disorder. This is because there’s so much uncertainty around what might happen between now and Biden’s inauguration, as well as in the days and months to come.

How to calm election anxiety

This intense political situation, combined with the rising COVID-19 numbers across the nation and Trump’s repeated downplaying of the virus, might have you looking for tips for stress relief!

Indeed, it’s normal to be concerned about the future. At the same time, there are a few simple mindful tricks you can use to how to calm election anxiety. Read on for How to ease post-election anxiety with mindfulness.

1. Find your community to ease anxiety

Although solitude can be really beneficial at times, you don’t have to tackle all the hard stuff alone! Due to the pandemic, you may find yourself constantly surrounded by people whose political views don’t necessarily align with your own – this may be especially true for all the college kids and young professionals out there. Connecting with a community of people who understand where you’re coming from can be a really great way to vent all your feelings and preserve your mental health.

Friends can come from anywhere!

Just acknowledging that you’d like to talk to someone openly about political topics is a great first step. You might find your crew in your friend group from school, those you talk to online, the person who just so happens to have the same grocery store pickup schedule as you, your kids yoga teaching community, or anywhere else. Community can come in all shapes and sizes! 

If you’re really struggling to deal with how to calm election anxiety and you find that you’re not getting what you need from conversations with those around you, consider exploring your options for professional help with your mental health. Amazing organizations like The Loveland Foundation provide financial assistance for those seeking therapy, in this case specifically for Black women and girls.

2. Notice and focus.

Here’s a great one to incorporate into your daily routine! One important aspect of mindfulness is deliberately paying attention to what’s around you without passing judgement on it. For example, if you’re taking your daily exercise walk outside, you might acknowledge that you hear the wind blowing and birds chirping. You might note that you see blue sky and some clouds and asphalt beneath your feet with cracks running through it. You might feel your feet pound into that asphalt and acknowledge that it feels solid and taste the cold snap in the fall air. Simply noticing things like this can help ground you in the moment – no room for anxiety here!

Check in with your thoughts

Once you’re mindfully aware of your surroundings, try and sit in that non-judgemental awareness for a moment. Then, check in with yourself and maybe try some stress relief techniques like tapping. How are you feeling? Are you still nervous or anxious? Are you still thinking about the latest piece of presidential news you heard? Remember, it’s still okay to think about these things and have these post-election anxiety concerns – they’re real and valid and should be addressed – you just don’t want them to consume you! Try not to pass judgement on yourself, either: you’re just observing where your mind goes. Then, you can acknowledge the concerns and let them pass through you. 

3. Breathe to reduce stress and anxiety

Breathing and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. Anxiety is often driven by shallow breathing, which connects you to your fight-or-flight response. One way to counteract this is to breathe deeply, which connects you to the opposite response: relaxation. Deep breathing also incorporates carbon dioxide into your blood, helping your heartbeat and breath match and also inducing a state of calm.

Try out some breathing exercises…

For an exercise that’s super easy to do in almost any situation, you can breathe through your nose for 4 counts, holding that breath for 2 counts, and breathing out for 8 counts. If you’ve got some more time and space, you can try belly breathing. While sitting or lying down, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and make sure the hand resting on your stomach is the one moving. Then, take a nice long breath out through the mouth to release all the air from your stomach area. 

Or calm anxiety with yoga!

Simple yoga poses are super effective ways to calm anxiety, but they’re particularly convenient during a stressful time! Plus, yoga asanas are staples in the world of yoga, and we all know that kids and adults alike are both vulnerable to fears about the current climate. Getting involved with kids yoga teacher trainings or signing your kids up for their own virtual yoga classes might be a great way to make this mindfulness practice an established part of your family’s routine.

Keep it up in the long-term!

Although post-election anxiety will pass, there will always be things that are hard to deal with on the world stage. So, remember these relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and yoga poses. Carry them in your proverbial pocket for the difficult times to come – because things will always get better, too!

If you’re looking for a regular dose of mindfulness in your life, look no further than Pretzel Kids! The Pretzel Kids Yoga Method and teacher training enables you to gain the mental and physical health benefits of yoga while getting certified as a kids’ yoga teacher in just 12 hours! Plus, Pretzel Kids’ online yoga classes for kids is a great way to keep your children healthy and engaged through this tough time!

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