Elections are gruelling beasts. The build up to polling day is typically protracted, divisive and generally hard to escape! The day of an election is no less intense with endlessly repetitive speculations and relatively pointless predictions.

It can be hard not to get caught up in it all and find yourself constantly checking polls and social media. And if you’re anything like me on election night, you’ll find the anxiety of ‘not knowing’ unbearable and instead of getting a good night’s sleep you catnap between checking the BBC website on your phone and watching the live analysis on BBC news (apparently other news channels and outlets are available)!

It’s a slippery slope; you start thinking you’ll just try and catch the exit poll before heading to bed. Struggling to drift off you take a quick gander to see if the first constituency has been declared yet. It hasn’t, but you might as well wait a little longer as it can’t be long now. And catching that first declaration is like popping open a tube of pringles or a pack of Jaffa Cakes (for clarification I haven’t been paid to mention these brands! :D).  At this point, only the most disciplined of minds can  back out and as the sun comes up you kick yourself for so foolishly riding that limbo train between sleep and election night fever!

Inevitably, the following days are fuelled with mixed feelings and reflections. Coming down from the electrioneering rollercoaster while contemplating the impact of all those future pledges and promises can take its toll.

However people voted, election result day can be quite an overwhelming experience. Like many, over the years I’ve personally experienced the hope, disappointment and excitement at elections and I also know how important it is to step away from that bubble from time to time. So here’s some of my own quick tips to stop yourself getting tsunami’d in a post-election hangover…

1. Get Some Fresh Air

Toddler walking on sandy beach

Getting outdoors really is the the first and most vital step to escaping your election hangover. It will break the cycle and move you towards brighter and lighter thoughts.

2. Experience Nature

Funny deer portrait black and white

Find some green space and look for some wildlife. There is something so reassuring about observing the ignorance and possiby contempt that nature exhibits opposite the whims and woes of homo sapiens. There is a calming continuity, a sense that while some things change, other things continue as they did yesterday and the day before.

Experiencing nature has become something I try to make part of my daily routine even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Today I watched a kestrel hunting over the verges of the A65, redwings scoffing berries by the train station and a minuscule goldcrest foraging in a town centre shrub no more than a metre away from me. Magical!

3. Find some water

Gordale Scar, Malham

We can’t live without water, so our instinctive appreciation and reverence for it should come as no surprise. This very fact also means that none of us are usually very far from it. Be it a reservoir or a river they are the lifeblood of civilisation. The fluidity and ever-changing character of water is something that can soothe and heal the soul.

Get Connected

There has been and is many moments when I want to hide myself from the world and all the people in it. Yet, those moments when I find myself reluctantly and unavoidably in the presence of someone can be the most powerful. Just the simplest of greetings, a nod, a shrug can start a profound process of healing.

Media and social media make it too easy to patronise, vilify and dehumanise both groups and individuals. And when we get in those little bubbles it’s easy for us to fall into the same trap. Forced face-to-face connections shatter that illusion.

People of all backgrounds, beliefs and political persuasions can and do share a love of nature and the outdoors, maybe that’s where we should all look to start the healing?

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