Last Tuesday night was filled with anxiety and dismay. I was a very reluctant Hillary supporter, and knew she was a deeply flawed candidate. But I listened to the pundits and pollsters as well as the outrage over Trump’s numerous atrocities. I was confident going into Election Day that the more experienced and qualified candidate would prevail. And Hillary came out with a strong start to get the early lead. But as Southern states closed their polls, Trump surge ahead. Seeing that red take over the Electoral College map on NBC News filled me with dread.
As the night went on, I felt nauseous watching the returns. I never really, truly, believed my country could elect Trump as the 45th US President. When Hillary earned California’s 55 votes around 11pm, and it still wasn’t enough to surpass him, I worried. Then, the news anchors projected Trump victories in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida. That’s when I knew the election was over; by some miracle, he had won.
When I turned off the television around midnight on Election Day, Trump was ahead in the electoral vote. By 7 the next morning, when I awoke, he had surpassed the 270-minimum, and Hillary Clinton had conceded the race. The campaign—long, ugly, vitriolic, cantankerous—was finally over. Donald J. Trump had been elected President of the United States of America.
That feeling of dread mixed with nausea that troubled me on Election Night lasted throughout Wednesday. My conversations were filled with conjectures about what to expect during a Trump presidency with Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate. That prospect—with no checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches—is absolutely horrifying. Add to it Trump’s ability to appoint right-wing Cabinet and Supreme Court members with extreme views that do not represent the majority of America. All of that worry about the future might have propelled me into a full panic attack—if it weren’t for my self-care practices.
First, I completed my morning sadhana (devotional time). I unfurled my yoga mat, and did a few asanas to get the blood flowing. I read several Psalms and prayed to God for our country. I sat down in 10 minutes of meditation and wrote in my journal. During my devotional, I came across this quote from Simple Abundance:
“In real life, serenity depends on coping and coping well. Rising to the occasion.”
My coping strategies for the rest of the day included a massage, therapy, and a mani-pedi. I had planned each of these activities long before the election results were finalized. I was trying to get them all in to prepare for a vacation. But these self-care tools were just what I needed. I lay on the table and closed my eyes, while Shuichi skillfully massaged the kinks out of my shoulders, back and legs. As he worked, I drifted into and out of consciousness, my body finally able to relax. My therapist asked how I was doing after the election. I shared that I still in shock. But I also knew my privilege—my college degrees and professional connections—provide me with great job opportunities and enable me to make enough money to make a good living. “I am fine.” I was coping.
The last appointment on my agenda last Wednesday was my All Levels Yoga class. Anticipating how heavy my students’ spirits might be, I decided to begin class with a powerful breathing technique designed to lower anxiety and calm the mind and body. Then, I led them in the chanting of a simple but effective mantra: Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (which translates as, “May all beings everywhere live happy, free and at peace). I was teaching them coping skills that they could employ long after the final Namaste
“We become more adept at rising to the occasion each time we see ourselves doing it. Every time we cope well with whatever real life throws our way, it’s another deposit of confidence, creativity and courage in our self-esteem account.”
I write these words from sunny California. Knowing that my winter blues usually start to arrive in November, I planned this trip many months ago. I’ve spent the last five days in Northern California, and tonight I will hop a flight to LA for another five days. With ten days free of work emails and client meetings, I have had an abundance of time to continue my self-care practices—to keep coping. I have eaten lots of healthy, Cali foods and worked out daily. I have taken a whole bunch of yoga classes, and plan to take even more. I hope to go for a long hike in the Hollywood Hills. I have been able to go to bed early and sleep in late, catching up on much needed beauty sleep. I am also reading good books, doing lots of writing, and enjoying the company of high school and college friends.
I also am using this time to accept the results of the presidential election in my heart. Our nation must come together and move forward as a one. The only way I can do that is with faith. So, I am spending lots of time contemplating the greatness and compassion of the Divine, and remembering all His promises. He knows the results of the election, and where our country is headed. He sees the divisiveness that plagues our nation, and knows what is best for us. I will keep reading through the bible and practicing my daily meditations. I know these will help. When I return to DC next week and teach my yoga classes, I plan to include Kendrick Lamar in my playlist. I am convinced that “we go’n be alright.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.