It started Tuesday. I was both apprehensive and somewhat excited prior to the election. And as the day and evening unfolded, I was glued to every media outlet I could get my hands on.
As the results started coming in and it was becoming more clear that Trump would win the election, I started thinking about what opportunities would open up.
I Missed the Big Market Gain, But That’s OK
Like others, my first thought was US equities. The futures market had dropped through the floor on election night as people realized what was happening.
But then just as quickly the market rebounded. Although Trump brings an element of uncertainty which most investors dislike, there is still the strong likelihood that corporate earnings will increase over the next few years. While there are no guarantees in the market, a lower corporate tax rate and reduced regulation should be positive for economic growth.
So after the dramatic fall on election night, by morning the markets had returned to pre-election levels. And then throughout that day and the following days, the markets continued rising.
I have excess cash waiting to be deployed, but I never had an opportunity to buy into the market. I’m still long in equities but I have been paring down my exposure over the past year. So I sat and watched the next few days while stocks went through the roof setting a new record high.
But that’s the nature of stock markets. I’m not actively day or swing trading. I’m invested for the long term. Most of my equities exposure is held in either an IRA or 401(k) so I won’t be accessing those funds for another 20 years.
5 Steps to Eliminate Post Election Distractions
I’m hoping by now, you’ve had a chance to recover from the election and get things back to normal.
Unfortunately for me it took a little while to get my mind back on track. I did get a little caught up watching the election and post-election news coverage. And that could have gone on for a while.
But rather than continuing to sit around regretting how I missed buying into the markets when the futures were down or thinking about what a Trump presidency means, I decided to get back to work.
Here are a few tools that I used to get myself back in the mindset of working again.
Stop watching cable news and social media. I know this may appear somewhat hypocritical in that I am writing this post online, but it’s pretty easy to get caught up with all the online political rhetoric. Instead of spending your time online, when you need a little mindless entertainment go and read an actual book or magazine. Stay away from anything online for a few days until you regain some self-control.
Get out of the house / office / school. Go out with friends. Have dinner. Socialize. Do all the things that make life worth living. But don’t talk about politics or the election or anything related. It’s time to get back to what’s important to you.
Start exercising. I’ve found nothing is better at clearing your mind and helping you get your motivation back than exercise. This can include everything from a short walk around the block to a long run up in the mountain trails or even a grueling bike ride up the back side of the mountain. The key is to get out and sweat. Physical activity allows you to reset and most things seem much less significant after a good workout.
Get enough sleep. We’re all getting shortchanged in this area. And the problem is that getting too little sleep creates a downward spiral. Often when we don’t get enough sleep we wind up self-medicating using caffeine to stay awake and maybe drinking alcohol in the evening to fall asleep. This just makes things worse. The good thing about sleep is that it doesn’t take much to get back what you missed. Even after staying up all night, getting a good solid night’s sleep the following day is usually enough to get you back on track. And everything just looks better when we’ve had enough sleep.
Write down your thoughts. I started writing down what I was thinking the day after the election. Like everyone, I had some strong emotions in this election. And while I thought about sharing these words on the site, I decided against it for now. It’s less important what I believe politically and more important what I do with that knowledge. And I’m so tired of the endless election-related posts on social media. I’ve seen friendships dissolved over the outcome of the election and I don’t want to be a part of that problem.
After working through these steps, I found it easier to get refocused on other things that matter. It’s time to start being productive again.
Readers, did you experience a period of post election distractions? What were some of the steps you took to start moving forward?