These are trying times, y’all. Everyday, we’re being inundated with exactly what we, the Resistance, feared would happen with the election of the Cheeto-in-Chief. After a lengthy conversation with a friend last night, I started thinking about self-care during the Resistance. Our friend correctly stated that we are all on the verge of burn-out, which is exactly what the Cheeto and his minions want. They are waging a war on dignity and compassion. We continue to show up for the battles. But fuck, it’s emotionally draining.
My brain has a catalog of “Things-That-Science-Says-Are-Good-For-Your-Emotional-Well-Being”. I’m going to make an effort to put them into practice.
- Reduce mundane choices. There is so much research on how we have too many choices in every day items. It causes decision fatigue. Did you know that during Obama’s presidency, he wore the same color and cut of suit almost every, single day? He also ate the exact same thing for breakfast every single day. This helped him avoid decision fatigue. What can you do, aside from buying a new, monochromatic wardrobe? Eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Drink your coffee and tea the same way every day.
- Stick to familiar routines. I love disrupting routine. In major ways. Obviously. Usually. But right now, I find comfort in our week day routine. We’re in the process of establishing a weekend routine so we that aren’t frantically trying to figure it out on a Saturday morning. And juxtapose that with…
- Doing something completely different. Sometimes. Do something completely new and different that forces your brain to learn something new. It serves as a good distraction. My favorite thing, right now, is to learn new mountain activities. This summer, we took an all day climbing class that focused on ropes. It kept our focus on that activity because if we didn’t pay attention, it could mean the difference between life and death. It was related to something that I really enjoy. And it was outside.
- Get your ass outside. Everyone knows this. But most urban dwellers do not follow through. Figure out a way to build outside time into your weekly routine. Every damn day or week, get your ass to a forested park or a beach. Hug a tree. Put your toes in the sand (not a sandbox, definitely beach or lake sand) and breath deeply. Listen to the sounds of nature IRL.
- Treat yo-self when you need treating. I was really depressed when I was a stay-at-home mom. My own mother came to visit us and treated me to a little shopping trip. We started our mission by seeking BB cream and ended up with a completely new skin care regimen. Three years later, one of my daily favorite joys is that damn skincare regimen. It makes me feel pretty and witty and gaaaaaay!
- Talk to YOUR Supporters Frequently. Chatting in a messenger platform is fine. But nothing beats the true connection of talking to friends and supportive family in-person or, at the very least, over FaceTime or Skype. Make sure it’s people that you support and people whom support you and not people that you find draining.
- Express yourself, hey hey hey hey! Express yourself outside of a status update or a tweet. Take photos. Write. Create art. I write this shabby-ass blog with really low readership numbers and I don’t give any fucks. It is such a stress relief.
- Spirituality. I’ll keep this brief since it’s one area of my life that I keep private, but adhere to whatever spiritual practice brings you comfort. Even my atheist friends find comfort in meditation.
- Tell everyone to fuck off, if need be. Sometimes you need a day where you binge watch Game of Thrones or all eight Harry Potter movies while eating take-out for every meal. DO IT. Ain’t no shame.
- EXERCISE. This has a multi-fold purpose. It reverses the damage done by cortisol, the gnarly stress hormone that causes loads of damage. It gives you stamina for long activist days. And, in case shit gets really real, you’ll be in shape. I really want to add a martial art to my current routine. Maybe I’ll aspire to become a ski ninja (google that for a hilarious YouTube video series).
- And finally, SWEAR. Science swears by this shit. And so do I.
What do you do for regular self-care (keep it PG-13, please)?