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Top Five: Ways to decompress from election stress

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(Heath Brandon/Flickr)

(Heath Brandon/Flickr)

(Heath Brandon/Flickr)

Julie Harrington, Contributor

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After months of controversy and contention, the presidential election ended with a result that shocked the country. We watched a more dramatic, intense race for the White House than we could have ever imagined.

Now, it is finally time to decompress from all the election stress.

While many want to book that plane ticket abroad and never look back, or weep over several pints of ice cream, there are of healthy ways to detoxify your life from the chaos this election has caused.

1. Take a breather. The first step to letting yourself unwind is clearing your head. If you have spent the past months tense and worried about this election, do things that will bring you a more positive outlook. Head over to the Rec Center and take a yoga or meditation class. It is a great way to spend time improving yourself and your mental state. Bringing positivity into your own life will allow you to share it with the people around you and combat the chaos that has been so common throughout this election.

2. Do something kind. Simple acts of kindness like going out of your way to hold a door for someone, smiling at strangers, or hugging it out with someone who has opposing views from your own will make you feel good and help you forget about the polarizing nature of this election. One aspect of this presidential race that has struck a nerve with millions of Americans is the way people are divided. Demographics like women, immigrants, minorities, and the LGBT community feel they have been marginalized and demeaned throughout this election cycle. Do something kind and put your support behind these groups of people. From donating to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Human Rights Campaign, to simply spreading the message that nobody is alone, can make an important difference. Reach out to the people in your life and make it clear that no matter what their background is, every person’s voice deserves to be heard. On campus, there are resources for everyone looking to support the important ideals of diversity and inclusion such as the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success, Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, and Center for Women and CommunityThese services are always open and available for members of the UMass community.

3. Seek out happy things. When the election craziness has got you down, seek out things that will make you smile. Watch clips of Saturday Night Live for a laugh. Pet the cutest puppy you can find and never let it go. Bake several batches of cookies and eat a pound of raw cookie dough while you’re at it. Do whatever you have to do to rid yourself of the negativity once and for all.

4. Work it out. Exercise is always effective in boosting your mood and helping to de-stress. Adding some cardio to your daily routine will improve both your mental and physical health, which is a win-win for everyone. If you are particularly angered by the election results, you can even hop on the treadmill and pretend you’re running all the way to the Canadian border. Hey, motivation is motivation.

5. Go on a social media cleanse. While it may seem impossible, taking a break from social media for a few days could be exactly what you need after this election. When it comes to politics, people often feel their social media accounts are a platform for their views no matter how biased or extreme they may be. If you are feeling angered by your friends’ opinions every time you scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed, it is probably time you close down your apps and put down your phone for a bit. Without a constant stream of political rants filling up your head, you might be more likely to have a calm, civil conversation about politics with family and friends. Listening to opinions different than your own is a healthy and essential part of life, and eliminating social media in the days after the election will make you far more willing to do so.

At the end of the day, as President Obama said, we are all on one team, and the best way to handle the election outcome is to stand together and support our country.

Email Julie at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @juliemh126.

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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
Top Five: Ways to decompress from election stress