A man breathing into a brown paper bag to de-stress after the elections

How To Cope With The Lingering Stress You Still Feel From The Election

by Rehan Ijaz
Elite Daily Video

Well, the votes are tallied and the political ads on TV have stopped playing on loop, and Donald J. Trump is now president-elect of the United States.

To borrow a phrase from Rudy Ruiz, a commentator on CNN, this election season “… has demeaned democracy, elevated mediocrity and insulted and embarrassed us all on just about every level imaginable.”

So, now that it's all over, all that's left is waiting for the forthcoming Trump laugh-reels on late-night television for the next four years.

And if you're anything like me, you feel like it's time for some serious post-election therapy.

I'm so glad it's over, but how do I recharge and restore myself after one of the most divisive, hateful elections in US history?

Here are some tips on how you can do some post-election healing:

1. Get away from the screens.

Our iPhones, androids and tablets seem to rule our lives.

A minor vibration in our pocket can completely change our train of thought and drive us to quickly respond to a message, or read the latest depressing news headline.

There's even a term for it: nomophobia.

If you want to truly restore yourself, take a break from the screens.

2. Do some "forest bathing."

Taking a break from the screens is a great start, but the thing you replace your screen time with is equally important.

"Forest bathing" is the literal translation of a Japanese tradition known as "shrinrin-yoku."

The stress-relieving benefits of getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to enjoy the natural sounds and environment of nature is powerful. It truly is soup for the soul.

In fact, Japanese researchers found those who partake in forest bathing experience a 6% decrease in heart rate and "55% increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity, or activity in the nervous system that promotes rest and relaxation."

So what are you waiting for? Get out and relax in nature!

3. Focus on goals you can control.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

This is a powerful prayer I find myself uttering from time to time.

Life is crazy, messy and unpredictable. The best thing you can do to recover from any unexpected setback or stress in your life is shift your focus toward the things in your life you can change for the better.

Set actionable goals, make a plan for accomplishing them and don't stop working until they're done.

It will give you purpose in a time when life feels perpetually grim.

4. Water your relationships.

During times of stress, it's easy to turn inwards and attempt to ignore the world around you.

Resist this temptation.

The close relationships you have in life are the constants that will help you weather the storm.

The close relationships you have in life are the constants that will help you weather the storm.

Find ways to connect, give back and help those around you. You'll find that, with the right people, good things multiply.

5. Get active.

The worst thing you can do is sit in your room and wallow.

Get active, get moving and take advantage of the natural, feel-good endorphins that are unlocked with a little aerobic activity.

You could combine this with the forest bathing exercise mentioned above. Take an aggressive hike, focusing on pushing your physical limits to release the endorphins that help provide a sense of peace and positivity.

Then, take a break and bathe yourself in the beautiful isolation of nature. Your spirit will feel restored, and the physical exercise will leave your body feeling more limber, youthful and rejuvenated.

The choices we make in our personal lives have a ripple effect on the people around us. A simple smile can brighten someone's day.

The choice to focus on remaining positive and uplifting can help people come together and hold depression at bay.

I would bet the farm on the fact that we have yet to see a human being walk the earth without challenge and struggle. Don't let bad news stop your personal growth and forward momentum in life.

Keep going, accept reality and focus on what's in your power to change.