Wow, I’m really crankin’ out the personal essays this week… but with Wednesday’s news of Justice Kennedy’s retirement, I went into a full blown tizzy. While I was traveling, the news of what our government is doing to immigrant children broke and I got upset. I’m not proud to admit this, but the news felt distant because I was abroad. I was able to stop crying about it, donate to the ACLU, and put it out of my mind until I returned. Same with the passing of Anthony Bourdain. Now that I’m back into my day-to-day routine though, it feels like I risk feeling constantly overwhelmed our dumpster fire news cycle. It is so hard to find peace these days, but a few things have helped me and I wanted to share them with you in case you feel the same way:
Donate now, often, and as much as possible.
It’s to the point where my budget includes donations because there are so many disenfranchised people out there who are only becoming more and more marginalized. What our government is doing to people is unconscionable and, personally, I cannot stand by and watch it happen. Hitha recently shared this link to support kids at the board and 12 different organization, so I wanted to pass it along to you. The idea that I’m doing just this small part to contribute helps me sleep a little better at night.
Be vocal and active.
As a blogger, I feel it is my duty to be outspoken and use my platform to improve the world. Despite receiving lots of flack for voicing my opinions on social media, I still do it and will continue to do it. I urge you to find out what your platform is — organizing protests, sharing posters and artwork for protestors to use, volunteering your time, registering people to vote. Whatever it is, figure out a way to get involved.
I’m sure you’ve heard those two points mentioned repeatedly over the course of the past few weeks (if not months), but they bear repeating. In terms of self-care, here’s some of what I do to maintain perspective and find some peace:
Ditch the phone.
I am hugely addicted to my phone and firmly believe that most of us are. When it gets to the point of where I feel totally powerless and hopefully, I put my phone away and take a bath. While I’m in there, I read an actual paper book or a magazine… something that helps my mind to escape the reality of our news. Face masks help, too. Usually an hour of this helps me to feel refreshed enough and way less overwhelmed. I’ve also stopped sleeping with the phone by the bed because I literally cannot wake up to more terrible news again. I need at least an hour and a cup of coffee before I can learn about what terrible things have happened while I was sleeping.
Not only am I muchhh more creative when I get time outdoors, but I also feel a lot calmer. This weekend we’re going camping with the dogs to get away from it all and stay grounded. If you’re not able to take a full weekend away, even going for an hour long walk is great for your brain and mood. This article shares more about why going for a walk can help you cope with stress.
It’s not that I’m a messy person, per se… it’s just that I get really busy and tend to let things go. But I have this habit of stress cleaning the house when I feel upset or overwhelmed. I’m not saying that you need to powerwash your house every time there’s breaking news, but it certainly helps me cope with feeling out of control. My theory is basically to devote some energy to what I can control and I’ll feel a bit better.
I am such an advocate for therapy, it’s not even funny. I’ve gone to therapy on a weekly basis for years and find that it is key to maintaining my mood, my energy levels, and my creativity. Lately, we’ve noticed that announcements coming out of DC were triggering old stuff for me and causing even more stress. This discovery alone has made it crucial for me to keep seeing my therapist consistently and regularly. I urge you to take your mental health seriously in any way possible.
And when all else fails, get together with your best girlfriends, a bottle (or two) of rosé and hug it out. I get to see one of my closest friends next week and just the thought of being in the same zipcode as her brings me some peace and comfort.
I’m sure over the past year and a half you’ve developed some coping skills for dealing with our chaotic news cycle. I’d love to know more of what has worked for you (and what hasn’t) down in the comments. Thank you and many hugs!
photography by Meghan Klein.
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