November 9 was awful. This week feels even worse. Are you feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or panicked? Do you find yourself crying, hyper-ventilating, or sick to your stomach? Yeah – you’re not alone. And for all of us who need a reminder, here are some coping mechanisms from friends and experts — some ways to take care of yourself and still keep fighting.
1) Accept your feelings as reasonable reactions and don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way and not being able to maintain productive non-weepy action every waking hour. (Thanks, David Snyder)
2) Unplug for a while – you don’t have to listen to all the bad news all day long. Set certain times of the day when you will look at Facebook or Twitter or check the news, instead of checking constantly. Get outside, breathe fresh air (even if it’s snowing.)
3) Focus on one or two or three issues. Nobody can be an expert on everything, or an activist on everything.
4) Put yourself out there with people in solidarity. Join an organization and go to the meetings, pick a day on the hill or a legislative hearing to attend, go march somewhere or attend a forum.
5) Decide what you can realistically do: Two phone calls a week? One meeting or march? $10 a month to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood or Neighborhoods Organizing for Change?
You might want to choose a couple of action newsletters or organizations to help you choose each week’s actions. Here are some possibilities:
- What to do this week: Action checklist for Americans of conscience (Google doc for national actions)
- Watch Your RepsMN – Minnesota legislative action alerts
6) Read some good, positive advice. Start with We are witnessing the birth pangs of a Third Reconstruction by Reverend William Barber.
7) Reach out to friends and loved ones, not electronically– we’re talking face to face, hugs and real talk and the like.
8) Find your coping strategies, things that help you feel better, whether that means binge-watching The Simpsons or going to the gym or baking cookies.
Yeah – we’ve got a long road ahead, lots of battles and likely lots of losses. We still need to keep living during the struggle. We need to keep celebrating what’s good in life and in ourselves and each other. Hang in there. We’re in this together.