9 ways to maintain your chill during this cray political time
Our political climate is challenging and unpredictable these days.
For many of us, our rights as humans are on the chopping block which can make simple things – like picking up medications from the pharmacy or turning on the television – unnerving and unsettling. Political activism is something I’ve been involved with for many years, but the last year has been especially draining.
The truth is, our fight against the Trump circus is far from over, so it’s important that we are taking care of ourselves along the way. As important as political action is, self-care is just as important. Here’s to the long fight, and to our self-preservation.
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1. Have you eaten? Have you slept?
These are important questions to ask yourself when living in a world that glorifies overworking. Whether you’re working for a cause or just trying to stay abreast of current events, it’s easy to get lost in the madness of it all and forget the little things. Eating good food – food that comforts and nourishes – is the foundation to fighting the good fight. Full bellies help our minds and bodies work the way they are supposed to. Let’s not forget that.
2. Social media is a troll cesspool & you don’t have to engage.
Immediately following the election, I felt the need to get back on Facebook so that I could stay involved and up-to-date on grassroots political organizing in my city. Unfortunately, even if you put up a bunch of privacy settings, the trolls will find a way to infiltrate. Whether it’s someone’s awful uncle commenting on a status update or just me finding out some of my “friends” don’t actually give a shit about my rights or the rights of other marginalized people, they pop up like pimples and the urge to squeeze them into oblivion through online engagement is tempting. Look, what I’m trying to say is being an activist doesn’t mean it’s your job to debate or argue with every red-hat wearing Trump supporter. Delete that account. Block that jerk. Log off and recharge.
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3. Reach out for help when you need it.
The anxiety that comes from an uncertain future is real, people. We aren’t meant to live in isolation. As a species, we’re wired to connect to others. When things seem out of control or hopeless, the best way to recharge is by connecting with someone you trust. We can and should lean on each other during this hellish time in our country’s history, in the world’s history. Connecting with a friend or friends is an excellent way to unwind. Consider instituting a “no-politics” rule if you have to. Or unpack these feelings in a safe-space.
4. Go outside where the sunshine is.
I am not really an outdoors kind of girl. In fact, I prefer the comfort of my home when things get tough. But I force myself to go outside on a walk to recharge. Sometimes that means leaving the city for a day, sometimes it means walking through my neighborhood, but there is something cathartic about going outside that allows me to unwind and find my equilibrium again. Vitamin D, y’all!
5. Remind yourself of what you’re great at!
In a world such as ours, we can sometimes feel compelled to do more and be better. I am constantly challenging myself with new reading material, articles, blogs, etc. I forget that I’m already pretty great and it’s not a race to know the most or even be the best. I have a compliments folder that I keep in my desk full of letters of recommendation, thank you notes, or other things that remind me of my strengths.
6. Journal through the madness.
I find that reflecting in my journal every night before bed helps me sleep better. I just simply write down all the things that are taking up space in my head. It helps me to brain-dump so that my mind is settled and I can fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. I can and do revisit some of what I write the following day, sometimes I can act on those things, sometimes I just let them go. I find that having a bedtime ritual that allows me to decompress is super helpful. Writing is the foundation for this. It might work for you too.
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7. Find something that inspires you.
And never let it go. Upworthy.com is a great place to find traditionally inspiring stories, but you can find inspiration to keep going in lots of places. Libraries, record stores, art galleries, nature, kitchens. Just find what you love and hold onto it. Let that be the fire underneath you to keep going when you feel exhausted. Revisit that thing often.
8. Find something that makes you laugh.
Though it might sound a little like #8, I think it’s important to distinguish between what inspires you and what makes you laugh. Sometimes they are the same thing and sometimes they are different. For me, when things seem out of control, I binge-watch The Office. Something about Michael Scott’s ridiculous antics takes me out of my head and puts me back in my body. I’m very thankful for that series.
9. Show love and gratitude.
It’s important no matter what your beliefs are to show gratitude and love for who you are and what you have. When things seem awful and hopeless, I remind myself that I am smart, funny, educated and strong. I remind myself of the things I am most thankful for. I am thankful for my partner, I am thankful for my friends, I am thankful for my bulldog. I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge. I am in a privileged position, and I am thankful for that too. I am thankful for this computer on my lap, that I can contribute to a greater cause through it. I am thankful for the platform for which this will be published and the readers who might take something positive from it.