In the nine days since Trump took office, we’ve endured day after day of political insanity. Executive orders that jeopardize the health and well being of the entire planet, a President obsessed with popularity over programs, and inside reports of a government in complete chaos. And the bad news keeps coming.
How do we cope? How do we maintain our health and well-being?
In addition to the work of resistance, this political moment calls for extreme self-care—long soaks in the tub, naps, nutritious meals. It calls for connection, compassion, and small acts of kindness. Caring for others — feeding the homeless, checking in on a friend going through a hard time — these acts take us out of victim mode. Because it is clear we are being bullied.
The constant barrage of information and political chaos must be acknowledged, but we must also protect ourselves, establishing social media blackout days (I have some ideas about how we can do this together) and taking breaks from the news. We are called to take deliberate, effective action, but then then back it up with silence and solitude. Connect deeply with loved ones and friends–go for long walks together, sit in the park, connect over a pot of tea.
And we must continue our creative work, which matters more than ever. Create a bubble for yourself, a few hours or even minutes each day, and focus. Ask yourself, How does the current political situation motivate me to recommit to my writing, photography, or dance?
Your creative work is important. I guarantee it.
Here are a few other ideas for taking care, gathered from friends on Facebook:
- From Nancy Seibel: I will add fun, humor and playfulness, both within resistance efforts and outside of them.
We must laugh and remember joy. Watch Saturday Night Live and go rollerskating. The political situation is serious, but a little levity goes along way in sustaining our energy.
(Check out Nancy’s website: Keys to Change, which is all about taking care.)
- From Jennie Benjamin: I’d add sleep and restorative practices. And connecting with loved ones has been key.
Napping, yoga nidra, restorative yoga. We need to rest and replenish regularly.
(Jennie’s new website shares the many ways we can get connected.)
- From Barb Suarez: Music. And lots of it! Quiet beautiful music, LOUD riotous music, 80s pop, Indigo Girls and others whose lyrics are as important as the harmonies.
Sing, sing, sing. Rock out in the car, go to a club or concert. The musicians will carry us through.
(Barb is a trusted guide in the birth process for new mothers and shares her tips for taking care on her blog, Birth Happens.)
- From Kathleen Laughlin: I have set aside one morning a week for activism. I’ve turned off notifications and I am trying to stay off of FB during the day. I have forgotten many times but trying to build new habits. I put times for mental health and spiritual practice on my calendar and task organizer. I remind myself that all I have to do is my part and that many thousands of others will also do theirs.
This is some of the best advice I’ve heard — put the time aside for activism. Having that structure alleviates anxiety. You don’t have to respond to every petition and call to action. Do your part and get back to your life.
(Kathleen is one of our wonderful practitioners at Sol Healing. Her practice, Compassion for Self, is based in mindfulness and meditation.)
- Barbara Mertus Munyon: A quiet walk in nature. Every day a step outside in the awesome world we live in. A few moments, in rain or snow or sunshine or just stand in your doorway and breathe.
This needs no explanation. Just do it. Go outside and get nourished by the earth. Fresh air, sunshine, trees, and sky.
(See Barbara’s connection with nature in her photographs here. Also, some great writing tips.)
What are you doing to care for yourself during from the daily barrage of bad news?
What practices could you add to your daily routine that would support your mental health and well-being?
How will you find time to put your creative work front and center?
As always, I’d love to hear from you.