Thoughts for “The Day After”

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin, American writer and poet

There comes a time when it is important to think and talk about difficult topics. Today is one of those days. We know what happened: On January 6th at the Capitol legislators were meeting to certify the results of the 2020 election when a mob pushed past police and entered the Capitol building and burst into the chambers. They smashed windows, broke furniture, and trashed offices. Members of Congress were evacuated, and the Capitol went on lockdown. Later in the evening, the legislators reconvened and finished the business they had started. It is a day that is now part of our collective history and will be discussed for years to come. But for now I offer some thoughts for “the day after.”

Know that it’s natural to react emotionally to events that occurred–to be worried, confused, angry, or more. Anger is often in the first round of emotions we experience. Anger by itself is not bad, but it may lead people to behave well or badly.

This bundle of emotions is stressful. Here are some suggestions for what young people can do to manage stress:

  • Express your emotions in a healthy way – write, draw, listen to music, talk to a friend.
  • Reach out to adults in your life who will listen and let you voice your feelings.
  • Engage in mindfulness-based practices, such as breathing exercises and getting out in nature.
  • Seek facts from credible news sources and consult more than one source.

By writing this post, I realized that I took my own advice – I wrote down my thoughts.

Our country is facing a crisis; how will we face it? What will we do when the emotions of “the day after” subside? There is no one right way. As we go forward, the discussions that take place might get uncomfortable. But in that discomfort is where our growth lies.

When I’m struggling with my emotions, I often turn to the words of others to give me guidance (as you can see, I’ve already used two quotes in this short post). I’ll close tonight with this quote from Thurgood Marshall, civil rights activist and first African American Supreme Court Justice.

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”

Yours in Health,


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