How To Stay Sane and Keep Fighting
If you’re like me then the last week and a half has felt like standing in the ocean and just getting hit again and again with waves. So much is happening that I oppose and it’s happening fast!
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I try to reach out to others to get perspective and ideas. So I reached out to my amazing coworkers, all of whom are lifelong advocates, to find out what they do to stay sane while fighting the good fight. I think you’re gonna like what they have to say!
I listen to the words of those who came before…
and those fighting now…
Ashley Judd quoting Nina Donovan…
and I remember we have overcome a lot and we will continue to do so — because at our core people are good.
I hold my baby. I’m not advocating for stealing babies, but if you have any children in your life, hold them. Play a game with them. Read to them. A child’s smile or laugh can do wonders for the human psyche.
Similar to Lacey, when I am stressed out, cuddling my cat really helps. I also find watching really trashy and politically-incorrect reality TV like Sixteen and Pregnant or Millionaire Matchmaker helps me tune out from depressing politics… (despite the urge to critically analyse the shows…).
Whenever I think about self-care and fighting the good fight, I remember the emergency announcement we hear on every plane ride: Put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then can you help others put on theirs. I come back to this all the time — as shorthand, I refer to it as “the oxygen mask rule”. More recently, a friend told me that we should always think of ourselves as cups filled with water. We have to keep all the water — the emotional energy — that’s inside the cup for ourselves. We can only share that which is overflowing. So if you want to be involved and help out, make sure your cup runneth over by taking care of yourself and nurturing yourself like you would nurture someone else you love.
When I was in my first year of college, I hit activist burnout pretty quickly. My friends and fellow activists were all of the mindset that every person needed to be fighting every single fight, for every issue area, all of the time. To not do so would be an act of fascism, imperialism, what have you. They were wrong. What happened instead was that after six months, I stopped fighting any fight. I took a good year or two off. And when I came back, it was with the perspective that I have to make sure I can breathe — really feel myself breathing — at any given moment. If I start feeling overwhelmed, I take a break, take a walk, and come back when I’m ready.
Spend some time with your passions. Make art. Channel your emotion into creating something, whether it’s a visual composition, music, or writing. Escape yourself.
If Trump’s agenda of hate and division has you depressed, remember that most of the country is with YOU, not him.
Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Do you know what that looks like? Imagine Hillary and Trump were tied 50/50 across the nation… but Hillary won ALL the votes cast in my home state Louisiana, along with ALL the votes cast in Delaware AND all the votes in Washington, DC. ALL of them.
Let that sink in.
Now, let’s get those folks mobilized to fight what they didn’t come close to voting for.
‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’ — Audre Lorde
I take care of myself by turning off Facebook for a day or two at a time. Sometimes I implement a “no Facebook after 5 pm” rule. I do yoga and meditate 2 to 3 times a week and on the weekends try to spend a day in the sun, in the park or hiking. Taking baths helps, too, and getting lots of hugs from loved ones.
In the same vein as Aaron’s contribution, I want to point out that the ACLU pulled in SIX TIMES its YEARLY donations in one weekend and it’s giving me a lot of hope.
And me, Kelsey
I have thrown myself into two very soothing hobbies: adult coloring books and cross stitching. I do my best to give myself permission to take time for things like this that don’t actually further the cause but do make me feel better. If I can take care of myself, I’m that much more motivated, clear headed and effective at the advocacy work I do here at Care2.
I think this translates for folks who aren’t professional advocates, too. If you attended a rally or a march, fabulous! But see if you can fit in time for a bath or drinks with a friend the next day to unwind and recharge so you’ll be ready for the next rally you attend.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, friends. Take care of yourselves and keep up the good fight! We’re here for you and with you.