The political climate is hell. The state of the country, the state of the world, the state of our relationships with others, are all stressful and scary. Thousands of folks are angry and rallying back against what they feel is unjust. In times like this it is very important to remember to take care of yourself. It’s also important to know that self-care does not mean selfishness, weakness, or standing down from the fight. Rather, ensuring that you’re at your best mentally and physically, means you’re in an even better position to step back into the ring.
The following are suggestions, in no particular order, to help us all get through these tough times without totally blowing our cool.
I’m going to start with cry. I work in news and social media for a Native American tribe. I ingest news all day, with a heavy focus on environmental news. There is good news and there are beautiful people in the world fighting for our animals, our planet and each other, but overall, it’s tough and it’s deflating. On more than one occasion I have shut down all my screens and just sat and cried. Cry. Cry and be thankful that you’re the type of person that can shed tears for the sake of others.
I have a wall of photos, mainly of dogs and vintage cars, that I look at when I’m feeling stressed. I have small funny things around my desk, like a WTF stamp and snarky coffee cups.
Skip the elevator
If you work in a building with stairs, use them. Step outside and breath fresh air. Even just a couple minutes to stare at the sky is so refreshing. Screaming at the sky has its benefits as well.
I recently sat down for dinner at a local diner. It had been a stressful news day. I decided to order the hand-dipped chocolate milkshake and a cup of hot tea. It was the best 20 or so minutes I’d had in a while. Order that dessert, buy that lipstick, take the time to sit and read a good book. Do little things that make you happy.
I can’t recommend enough getting a professional massage. Unwind those muscles and unclench that fist…for now. Take a hot bath or soak in a hot tub if you have one. Try a glass of wine with that soak. Which leads me to…
I don’t recommend getting terribly drunk and lashing out, but yes, enjoy a glass of wine after a hard day. Take a shot of whiskey. Mix a fancy cocktail. Step out to the local bar, grab a drink and mingle. Rub elbows with other folks that, like you, are just hammering out a living as best they can.
By all means, have a bitch session with your pals. It can feel so good to get that toxic buildup out of your system. Join a chat group of like-minded folks.
Resist and be pro-active
Join in a local march or rally. Make phone calls to your local and non-local representatives and let them know your opinion. Make donations to groups that support your ideals and mission. Donate to, or help spread the word about a candidate you believe in, even if it’s out of state. It’s very empowering to make a tangible effort to your cause.
And encourage others to vote. Even if it seems futile to some, please vote. Women worked very hard to give us that right.
Work and workout
Getting sweaty is always a good stress reducer. Take a walk or run. Do yoga. Hot yoga is an amazing relaxer. As is digging in the dirt. There are multiple scientific reports behind the idea that gardening is beneficial to not only our bodies, but our minds as well. Exposure to nature reduces stress and can help with moods such as depression. If you don’t have a yard, visit a local park. Or simply admire a beautiful tree on the street, especially one alive with fall colors.
Give back to the environment
Find your own small ways. Pick up random garbage from the streets, beach or parks. Ditch the plastic bags and go with re-usable shopping bags. Encourage recycling and using green products.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated
It helps with your shouting, rallying and marching endurance!
Clean up your social media
We all know we should set aside our phones more often, but in the meantime, take a look at your news feed. Many people are unfriending family and friends over political views, and that’s not a totally bad thing. If you don’t wish to unfriend people, you can unfollow them. If you have folks on your feed posting ugly, hateful things, get rid of them. It’s surprising how much we don’t even realize the affect this has on our stress levels.
Let’s not forget humor
I believe laughter can get us through most everything. Things are so unfunny, that we need comic relief. Set aside that dramatic movie you’ve been meaning to watch and check out a comedy instead. Share that funny meme. And by all means, laugh childishly at clips of the president boarding Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
Random acts of kindness
Finally, my never-fail way to feel good: random acts of kindness. Give a stranger a compliment. Strike up conversation with co-workers, waitstaff or store clerks. Volunteer at a local charity, give food donations to families, or donate Christmas presents to kids in need. And those friends and family members that are saying things that go against everything you believe in? Yes, be nice to them as well. Using comments such as, “Your beliefs are horrific, outdated and ignorant, but I still love you,” may go a long way in salvaging the relationship for the future.
With a balance of love, kindness, self-care and resistance, we will get through this together. It’s my personal opinion that by simply helping the environment, taking care of our wildlife, and treating others with common decency and respect, we are basically giving the middle finger to the current admin.
by Kim Kalliber
Kim comes from a fantastic family of vintage collectors, thrifters, artists and very non-professional comedians. She lives in the ‘burbs outside of Seattle with four rescue dogs and a few vintage cars and motorcycles, in a house some deem as overly-full of 50s lamps. She’s a graphic designer and news editor by day and also creates one-of-a-kind custom purses as Kalliber Kustoms. She’s a firm believer in living out loud. Kim is a founding member of the Piston Packin’ Mamas, an all-girl car and motorcycle club in Seattle.