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Post-Election Grief: Are You Feeling It?

Are you grieving because your candidate lost the election?

Many people are grieving because of the election outcome. If your party lost, you might be experiencing grief. As a bereavement specialist, I recognize grief as a blending of emotional, cognitive, physical, behavioral and spiritual reactions after a loss.

You may be burdened and grieving for:

  • a loss of proper standards for the country
  • a loss of an image of what this country should be
  • rejection of your own value system that you believe made this country strong
  • loss of the future for what you wanted for your children and grandchildren

Possible Reactions to Post Election Grief

Emotional: Betrayed; shock at what you perceive to be the stupidity of voters; disappointment; anger; numb; pessimistic; denial; hateful toward the “other” party; helpless; frustrated that your candidate did not win; puzzled; uncertain; and worried about the future of your country

  • Cognitive: Negative attitude; failure; life seems different; perplexed; outraged; sense of unreality, as you can’t believe the outcome of the race; repeatedly ask why?; and you don’t feel safe with your finances, home, and the future
  • Physical: Headache; stomachache; exhausted; muscle tension; feel shaky; rundown; and feel lethargy (heavy) as though you are carrying around a ton of bricks
  • Behavioral: Act aggressively; impatient; mistrust others; pace; can become self-destructive; grind teeth; become moody; need to talk or blog about the outcome of the election; and want  to move to a RED state
  • Spiritual: Feel empty; hopeless; difficulty moving on; and have found no meaning in what happened

I created a resilience based model to cope with life changing events. The acronym, FABULOUS is an abbreviation of several words that target resilience and strength. A principle is a belief. The FABULOUS Principle focuses on believing in your strengths. You have to power to cope with stressful events, like the election. My program, “The FABULOUS Principle,” can be applied to Post Election Grief.

Here are 8 strategies to cope

1.  F.  Flexibility.  Be a flexible thinker. Refocus on the next election and what you can do now to help your candidate win the next time around. As you rethink the way you think, blog about your experience. Keep a journal about your feelings as it can become an outlet for your frustration and pain.

2.  A.  Adapt.   You will have to get used to the fact that your candidate did not win during this emotionally charged race. Familiarize yourself with your party’s goal and work with your local government as you adjust to four more years.

3.  B.  Boundaries.   Keep limits in place. No screaming or fighting with those who do not believe as you do.

4.  U.  Understand.   You need to understand the meaning of your life and the significance of your party affiliation. Be aware of your feelings and know that they are normal reactions to loss.

5.  L.  Laughter.   Find your way to being happy again. Find joyful moments and keep your sense of humor.

6.  O.  Optimism.   Don’t be pessimistic and cynical. There are more elections to come.

7.  U.  United.   Friends, family, faith community. Talk with those who understand how you feel.

8.  S.  Self-Compassion.  Be kind to yourself. Your candidate did not lose because of something you personally did. You did not choose the wrong party. Be considerate of your feelings.  Be generous with your time. Take the time to relax and regroup.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” The Democrats were successful. Republicans lost and have to accept what happened and the pain that goes with it and both parties must continue to work for the greater good of this great country. What gives you courage to continue after this major loss in your life?


Barbara Rubel is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.