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Canadians and the US Election

Dr. Joti Samra

November 10, 2020

Resiliency

Canadians and the US election

Leading up to the US election, the world was watching. There was collective anxiety across the world as the election approached as well as the votes were counted. This weekend when Joe Biden was announced as the new president of the United States, there was a sigh of relief across the world, but that does not mean that the anxiety is over – particularly since it is unclear whether or not there will be a smooth transition or if Trump will admit defeat. This election was also too close for comfort, which means that too many people still support Trump regardless of his problematic and hateful ideas. 

Even though many Canadians may feel as though the election does not directly impact them, it does in many ways. Not only do a number of Canadians have friends and family that reside in the US but their policies and attitudes have a political and social impact on Canadians. As we have seen over the last four years, Trump has made it okay for people to express their racist, hateful, or bigoted views. 

For many Canadians, the anxiety leading up to the election was not only overwhelming but had an additional layer of hopelessness because there was nothing we could do to impact the results. 

Managing Election Anxiety

Even though the results have been called, know it’s okay to still feel anxious about what is going to happen in the US and the state of the world. Now that we have a moment to breathe, it is especially important for us to take a moment to take care of ourselves. So, here are a few ways to manage anxiety following the election. 

1 Take a break from technology including social media.

Many of us spent hours watching the beginning of the election and impulsively checked news and media sites the entire week. Our social media feeds were also likely very focused on the election and its results. So, take a break. Log out of your social media accounts. Close the news tab you have open in your browser and step away from your computer for longer periods of time. 

2 Self-care.

Take some time for yourself to engage in self-care. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Make time to engage in activities that bring you joy. Exercise or simply get outdoors for some fresh air. Engage in something creative or read a book. 

3 Talk to someone.

As a Canadian, you may feel a step removed from the election because you are not actively able to participate in it. As a result, it may feel challenging to express or talk about your feelings. Find someone you trust to talk about it and be honest about your feelings – your feelings are valid no matter what they are. If you’re interested in speaking to a counsellor, contact us.

4 Focus on things you can control.

Anxiety can feel more challenging to manage when things feel out of control, so find something you can control to focus on. Consider reaching out to someone you know in the US and check in on them. Ask them how they’re doing and see if they need any support. 

5 Don’t forget to breathe.

Many of us were holding our breath as the votes were counted, and even though it’s not over yet, we need to take a moment to breathe. Yes, our worries are justified, but we can only do so much at once. 

Final Thoughts

We have no way of knowing what is going to happen next but we can take care of ourselves so we are better able to emotionally deal with the outcome and be able to support those we care about. And remember, that this period too shall pass.

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