Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Post-Election Blues: How to Recover from Electoral Insanity

Image via WimL/

Perhaps it’s the nature of elections that drives us insane. How they focus our attention on the faults of others, whip us into a competitive frenzy and instill a wired crankiness in those paying a smidgeon of attention. I blame it on the ads.

And that’s the thing. As summer came and went, as the election arrived and prepares to go, I’ve found myself cranky—and ready, at a moments notice, to assign blame for how I’m feeling, acting and treating others to externalities.

But if I’m being honest, the real culprit is me. I’m sick of being around me. And that’s a bit problematic since it’s a tad difficult to get away from me. And yet, that is exactly what I need to do. Stop being the cranky, bad, miserable, negative, critical me and start being the happy, positive, generative, loving me.

Except, until today is over, I don’t really feel like taking the high road, being responsible for myself or pushing through what may be the post-summer blues, electoral madness or my increasing need to simply tune out. Watching the campaigns has made me quite attached to finding fault with everyone and everything around me. I’m really, really good at it! I can take nearly any situation and turn it into what I want it to be—skillfully molding events to fit my reality. The past few days I’ve managed to turn seemingly innocent things in my own life (a thoughtless comment, a manufactured wrong) and make them the worst things in the world.

I wonder if there’s a job on cable television in my future (I’m an ace at getting outraged!)? In short: I am sick of me. My husband is sick of me. I even think my dogs are sick of me.

So as I sit here, I wonder: what is up with me? My husband would summon one of his clever quips from Kelly's Heroes where Oddball says: “Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

The mere act of writing things down and giving quiet voice to how I’m feeling is already helping (Whether catharsis for you comes in voting or writing, give it a try!). Also, exploring my answer to Oddball’s question is helping too.

What is it that has me attached to the negative waves? Why don’t I say something hopeful? What has me attached to the negative waves is simply me being attached to the negative waves. Except, I’m not actually attached to the negative waves. The negative waves aren’t fastened to me with glue or staples or tape or handcuffs…in fact, I’m not attached to the negative waves at all.

Wow – better already.

To Oddball’s invitation to say something hopeful, I’m going to give that a try today. Why? Because today is a beautiful early November day. And, while it’s true I am ready for the election to be over – I am also grateful to live in a country where I have the right, privilege and freedom to vote.  I work with creative colleagues and inspiring clients—and I’m honored to work with the public sector.

And, as my wise husband would say: “any day that I’m alive is a good day and that’s all that matters.” If Oddball were still around (is he?) maybe he’d be quoting my husband.

Win or lose, put aside your politics, look beyond external events we give power over us and take stock: What’s good in your world? Do you dig how beautiful it is out here?

(Image via WimL/

Sarah Agan is a regular contributor to Excellence in Government. She has spent the past 17 years working with clients across the federal government with a focus on helping individuals and organizations thrive.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.