Remember this time last week when we were on the edge of our seats waiting to see what would happen after it was made clear that the election would not be called on Election Night?
The collective checking of social media, refreshing our phones and TV scrolling just to realize there was still no answer on how the race would go?
In that time, it may feel like two years have passed with all of the constant news coverage after Joe Biden was announced president-elect on Saturday. While a wave of relief rolled over the shoulders of many, there presents new challenges as the uncertainty of a peaceful transfer wages on due to Trump refusing to concede.
And in addition to that, there’s still a collective sense of heaviness, for those who understand that a Joe Biden presidency will not cure the ills of society, especially for Black people and organizers who still are enthralled in the fight.
We reached out to certified life coach and Behaving Bravely author Anita Kanti, who helped provide some steps for those of us who are still anxious with all of the uncertainty that lies ahead.
MadameNoire: There was a sense of wide-spread relief on Saturday after the election results came in. What are the ways in which you can continue a positive momentum off of what happened over the weekend?
Anita Kanti: Post-election, many of us are in relief while others have defaulted to a dismal approach towards the so-called new normal future of our democracy. It’s natural to have emotional reactions to change, but it’s a signal to tune inward when it reaches breaking stress points. Ways to think and behave in optimism promote a better night’s sleep especially if we can implement methods of self-regulation in a few areas:
Be the change you wish to see–move into gratitude practice from morning self talk to dinner table discussions around moving forward.
Stop filtering everything politically–ask yourself how you can relate on common ground; thinking in a unified long-term perspective is beneficial.
Tackle something new–engage in a hobby, enhancing your current environment, and of course, social bridging this holiday season with others creatively while practicing social distancing holds a definite momentum.
MN: Can you speak to the collective trauma and PTSD many of us were living under for the last four years?
AK: A new psychological study displayed that for some adults, the 2016 election had such a severe impact that it caused symptoms often seen in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. According to recent research, the scale tips from collective issues around gender, race, leadership transparency, immigration, environmental, and foreign affairs, to name a few. Add on how the pandemic’s uncertainty has escalated; and well, for some, it’s resulted in stressful mental hopscotch.
MN: What are some steps or exercises that you can take when you feel overwhelmed by the continued news coverage/discussions around the presidential election?
AK: Start your day over– Your day doesn’t have to be hijacked from the negative morning news. Better balance is when we are self-aware and engage in mood-boosting activities no matter how small, and make the choice to change it.
De-Stress with the simple joys–In the wake of the uncertainty, pet joy, wellness, find meaning, write down those moments of meanings. It’s the meaning we give that can keep us in our truth.
Commit to Accepting Change–A growth mindset acknowledges the necessity of change to grow. Integrating this simple wisdom keeps us in the present and worthy of personal empowerment.
MN: There are still a large group of Black organizers and activists who rightfully feel weary under the President-elect. Can you talk through measures that organizers and activists can take to find peace of mind/rest in the weeks and months that lie ahead?
AK: Civil rights activists and leaders need to continue to push for equality. Leading by example around controversial issues through listening, prioritizing empathy, and searching perspectives will continue to canvas and champion change. It’s crucial to demonstrate your voice for a better society. Navigating through your anxiety will involve dealing with it head-on:
Claim and name your emotions.
Reaching out with a Volunteer Mindset–This can help silo anxiety because it focuses on others. 3.
Envision Tomorrow–Picture the desired destination. When envisioning that road and creating it, it gives you the beneficial endorphins for new and exciting plans up ahead.