Elections are always an emotionally draining experience, and this election may have been the most difficult that any of us can remember. The entire election was filled with negativity and campaigns aimed to take down the opponent at any cost. Tempers flared, arguments abounded on social media, and people even found themselves in heated battles with friends and family over political issues. No matter which candidate you supported, we can all agree that it is time to leave the hostility behind and move forward in a positive manner.
I belong to several Facebook groups that are communities of female entrepreneurs. One post the other day actually surprised me. The person basically posted asking people how they were doing post election and the emotions they were feeling. What really surprised me was the number of my fellow boss ladies that were saying that they were devastated and couldn’t focus on their business. Some were considering shutting down. Wait..what? No..no…no…we can’t have that. I honestly started to feel like many of these women probably shouldn’t run their own companies. I’m not saying this to be harsh, but I want people to snap out of it and move forward. You need to be fierce and present in your business if you want to succeed. Sure, it’s good for the soul sometimes to take a short break to regroup and refocus. But, please, don’t get sucked into a hole of wallowing and despair. It doesn’t look good and I’m sure doesn’t feel good.
In times like this I use my sister, Kimberley Ring, as an example. She runs a successful PR and Marketing firm here in Boston. When we got the call that Dad had stopped chemo treatments and didn’t have much time left, we flew down to be with him and help our mother take care of him. It was hard..like really fucking hard. For all of us. Mom hadn’t slept in months. I had my 3 year old son there and that had it’s own challenges. But my sister never skipped a beat. She was taking client calls and sending press releases in between taking care of our dying father. It was awe inspiring. She’s extremely dedicated to all that she does. She’s all in, 100 percent. And I’m telling you this straight. If you want to run a successful business, if you want to continue to move the needle, you need to be ALL IN. If you are going to let an election result completely derail your business, then you might want to rethink being an entrepreneur. As Lori Greiner says, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. You have to have the fire and hustle deep in your DNA to keep charging forward.
Look, I get that life can hit us where it counts. And we are all feeling some election fatigue. So here are a few tips on how to get back on track:
Remember your WHY
I keep a picture of my son walking down the boardwalk of our beach where I can always see it. It reminds me that I left the corporate grind because it no longer fit my life. I wanted to get back to creating growth strategies for women-owned business but I also wanted to be able to take my son for a walk on the beach whenever I want. I wanted to own my time. Your why is what keeps your entrepreneurial fire burning. Revisit it. Write it down. Maybe it’s changed. Just remind yourself of what keeps you chasing after your dreams.
Rewire your brain with meditation
Sometimes it’s really hard to pull yourself out of that funk. A good friend and fellow IIN grad, Cindy Suarez, reminded me recently of the benefits of meditation. I have found a consistent meditation practice helps to refocus and rewire the brain.
Meditation has many benefits–beating the blues is one of them. The process affects your brain and the rest of your body in many ways. Meditation boosts endorphins, giving you more energy and boosting positive emotions. It also increases GABA (a mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter) and DHEA (a hormone that reduces depression and improves memory and immunity). You probably haven’t been getting a good night’s sleep with all the negative election vibes–meditation also helps with that problem, as it increases melatonin.
Focus on the positive
It’s really easy to get caught up in negativity. There are certainly a lot of worries after an election–a new president means change and that is tough for many of us. Fear of the unknown makes it easy to focus on the negative things that might happen. It’s incredibly important during times like this to focus on the positive aspects of life. Look around and remember how much the little things matter–the weather is beautiful, you have a wonderful family, you’re healthy, you are successful, you have friends that make you laugh, you have the cutest dog on the planet–whatever it is that always brings a smile to your face, that’s what you need to focus on.
Continue to nourish yourself with proper nutrition
This may seem like a silly one but stick with me here as I put on my health coach hat. Proper nutrition is much more important than many people think. Remember that food is fuel, and that old saying “you are what you eat”. Stuffing down tons of starchy carbs laden with all sorts of funky preservatives and additives simply isn’t going to end well. It might be tempting to drown your sorrows in a big bowl of bright orange Cheetos or a three-scoop ice cream sundae swimming in hot fudge, but that kind of food is going to leave you feeling worse than ever. Sticking to a balanced diet every day will help your overall mood–omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, whole grains, and lots of fruits and veggies will help you ward off the blues.
If you are feeling upset about the outcome of the election, or even the chosen candidates, there are ways you can get involved and have more influence over the next presidential election. Change begins at the local level–get to know your local and state representatives. Even if you have no political experience, you can still help shape the future. The next time you think of getting on your soapbox on social media, think instead about how you can better affect change. Don’t confuse activism with narcissism.
Find a cause you care about
You might have a cause about which you’ve always been passionate, or maybe the election brought some important issues to light that you’ve never really thought about before. Either way, now is the time to put that passion to work. There are many great causes out there, and it takes a lot of hard work to reach the goals that will benefit these causes. Round up your friends and family members who share the same passion, and get to know other community members who are fighting for that cause. I personally work with and donate 5% of my income to a non-profit that creates inclusion opportunities for young adults with disabilities, You’re With Us!
This presidential election has been difficult for many of us. In addition to the negativity surrounding the election, transitioning to a new president is a big change. Many people are afraid of changes that may affect them and some are just downright angry. The anger, worry, and negativity has left many of us with the blues, but it is time to move on. Embrace the positive, take good care of your mind and body, and get involved in your community. Remember that you can make a change. Together we can all make a difference.