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6 non-political ways to channel post-election fatigue

Leslie Barker
Dallas Morning News

The election is over. You can breathe a sigh of relief or cry a little or collapse onto the couch. But no matter your political affiliation or whether what you wanted to happen actually happened, chances are you’re feeling a bit drained.

With that in mind, here are six ways to channel your exhaustion into something positive:

Give blood. Need a reason why? Here are but a few: One pint can save three lives. Every three seconds, someone needs blood. Every year, blood transfusions save the lives of 4.5 million Americans.

Go to church. Or to your synagogue. Or your mosque. Just sit there, close your eyes, breathe in peace and take comfort that we live in a country where we can do that.

Pay for a stranger’s coffee. Or oatmeal, as I did recently. I never (as in never) use the Starbucks drive-through, but that Sunday, the Starbucks I pulled up to only had a drive-through. So when I reached the window, I asked the barista what the person behind me had ordered.

“Oatmeal,” she said. I figured I could afford that and handed her back my Starbucks card. Turns out I felt like I couldn’t afford NOT to do that. Wow, what a kick. Best $2.43 I’ve spent in a long time.

Pet a dog. Or a cat. Studies have shown the mere act of petting animals lowers blood pressure and releases relaxation hormones. Plus, think of how it feels to them.

Pets tend to give you a better sense of meaning, a sense of belonging, says Allen R. McConnell, a professor of psychology at Miami University told webmd.com.

“You feel,” he says, “like you have greater control of your life.”

Dig in some dirt. Cut those straggling periwinkles that will be gone soon and put them into a vase to enjoy every last moment of color they offer. Better yet, give them to a neighbor.

Or pop a seed or a bulb into the ground or a flower pot. True, you might not see much now, but with a little time and perspective, to say nothing of sunshine and water, chances are they’ll thrive. Isn’t that the way life so often works?

Be nice. Be kind. You’ll feel much better being that way than you will snarking off at someone. Really.