5 Alternatives to Freaking Out over the next 4 years
I don't know about you, but I am wrestling with keeping my shit together right now. I'll be going along, managing just fine, and then I will see or hear something that will send me spinning down a rabbit hole and running towards anything that will numb me out, like a bottomless bag of chocolate chips or endless hours of playing Hearts on my phone. I have nothing against chocolate or playing games on my phone but regularly numbing out to avoid reality is not a good long-term plan.
So I decided to make a list of things I can do to balance the numbing and the upcoming right-wing agenda and I am sharing them here.
RESIST: According to Merriam-Webster, resisting is this: to fight against (something): to try to stop or prevent (something) : to remain strong against the force or effect of (something). That's a lot of options and I will likely employ them all in some form or another. My advice to all of you is to get clear on what keeps you strong and do more of that. In the end it will depend on what your life can accommodate and what resisting means to you. Even the smallest of moves will contribute to the ripples of change. Maybe your way of resisting is to consciously participate in acts of peace. Whatever you choose, now more than ever we need to be involved. Just lamenting the state of the world is not enough.
The time for complacency is over.
In the words of one of our great resisters, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
CONNECT: We need to stay connected to our tribes and our communities. There is so much positive energy when we are connected! If or when you are feeling overwhelmed by negativity or despair, reach out for connection. It may not change the facts but it can buoy you through the moment. Even connecting through social media like Facebook can help. You can also connect to spirit, God or whatever higher power helps you pull through.
Together we are stronger. Truly.
SUPPORT: How can you be of service to yourself and to others? This year I am volunteering at a call-in help center again - something I haven’t done since before my son was born. I will be making comfort packages to keep in my car and hand out to homeless people that I see as I exit or enter the freeway. When I am hovering on the edge of despair I will support myself by turning off the news and turning up some music, taking a walk outside, binging on Netflix or calling a friend. When I am feeling angry or somehow disenfranchised I will make a plan to be with other like-minded people and talk it through. When I am feeling sad I will write in my journal, talk to the Universe and wrap myself in some blankets until the sadness is ready to be channeled into action.
I intend to pay closer attention to ways in which I can support others and myself.
REST & DIGEST: Stress will devour us whole and render us useless if we let it. You have all heard this before, maybe even from me, but practicing good self-care in the form of getting enough sleep, eating foods that are nourishing instead of depleting, drinking enough water, and being kind to ourselves in our minds is absolutely key here! Whispering mean or frightening things to yourself helps no one, least of all you. And for God's sake, give yourself permission to turn off the news for a while if it's giving you agita. I promise you can turn it back on whenever you like, but a "news fast" every now and then is good for the soul.
BREATHE: Pretty simple really. It will ultimately get you through everything. If you are alive you can breathe. When you are in or near a freak-out, stop and just breathe. Slowly and deliberately. Do it until your pulse slows down, until you can regroup and make a plan, or until the tears come. Cling to your breath because it will ground you, root you and help you get to the next moment, and the next, and the next…..
That's all I got right now.
There will probably be some chocolate and Hearts this weekend, but there will also be resisting, connecting, support, rest and plenty of deep, deep breathing.
May the force be with us all, now and always.