Well, APW, here we are. I’m still soaked in anxiety, and now I’ve added in an unhealthy dose of disgust for the fact that we live in a country where an election touted as ‘an election to save our soul’ is turning out to be so close. Last night we made pizza in the backyard to distract ourselves, we printed out a blank electoral college map for our 7-year-old to color in (he’s very into all of this), and I only found myself in tears once… so, I guess I’ll call that an okay evening. Once the kiddo went to bed, we watched some mindless television, checked back in for Trump’s (undemocratic and false) press conference, and then headed off to bed. And I woke up with the same mix of pure fear and disgust, and unbridled hope and positivity. What’s more 2020 than that?
So here we sit, it’s late Wednesday morning, we’re full of anxiety… what do we do with all of it? There’s plenty of memes all over the internet telling us to ‘self care,’ ‘rest so we can continue the fight,’ ‘unplug,’ or ‘stay the course.’ But what can we actually do, today, to make ourselves feel better, to help our friends and neighbors, to find the silver linings in all that this year (and the delayed climax of an election) has brought us. Here are a few ideas.
Take care of you
It’s true… you can’t pour from an empty cup. And for a lot of us, our cups are feeling pretty empty right now. So there’s no better time than now to pause and check-in with yourself. Self-care isn’t about the shower, the face mask, the yoga… it’s about choosing to take time to prioritize yourself. Do that, please.
- It’s the simplest of things… but just take a shower. It will make you feel so much better, just about every time.
- Take some quiet time. Meditate. (Try out some peaceful music from Spotify. Use one of the many apps available: Headspace or Calm are our faves.) Oh, and grab yourself a weighted blanket, you won’t regret it.
- Journal. Literally, just put pen to paper and let all your feeling fall out onto paper. You never have to read it again, and neither does anyone else. (Looking for a journal? Try out this guided calm journal, or this nice simple one that you might be able to pickup same day from Target.)
- Turn on your favorite music, as loud as you can, and dance it out.
- Do something creative and new. (You could take an embroidery class , try out landscape painting, finally start building your own portfolio website, or dive into some watercoloring, to start.)
- Move your body. (There are so many wonderful online options. Give grounding yoga a try, we could all use a little grounding right now. Meg is a big fan of the Pelaton app for all things physical, and you can get a free trial. Check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, it’s a favorite. )
- We happen to be a team of stress cleaners. So, find a corner of your home that could use a fresh start, pull everything out, and go in on organizing it. Throw out the trash, make a donation pile, and gain some control over what you can at home. I swear it helps.
- Shut down the screens and open a book. With everything going on, I give you full permission to grab an old favorite that you’ve read a hundred times before but that you know will make you feel good. (And if you’re looking for something new, I recommend Untamed or To Shake The Sleeping Self.
- Or don’t shut down the screens, but zone out on something more mindless than CNN. Here’s the 50 best movies and 50 best TV shows on Netflix right now.
- Do not forget to eat. If cooking is something that feels good, do that. If not, treat yourself to a meal delivery if you can. No matter what or how, please eat.
- Get outside. Take a walk. Need a ‘purpose’? Bring a bag with you and fill it with trash you see on your way.
- The holidays are sneaking up, and so in our house we are distracting ourselves with DIY gift making. Need some ideas, peruse Pinterest, and then get creative. It feels so good.
- Spend time with your people (safely). No matter if it means a masked walk, or building a fort with your kids… don’t hole up alone. Hey, cuddle your pets, too.
Check-in with your friends and family
If you have the capacity, now is definitely the time to check-in with your BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Jewish, Muslim, and immigrant friends and family. We’re worried, and struggling to face the reality of what this election looks like (regardless of outcome).
- Text your people. Start with “you don’t have to reply to this” so that they know they’re off the hook. Tell them you’re ready to be a listening ear if they need to vent. Tell them you’re thinking of them and that you’ll be there for them no matter what.
- Call the ones who like a call (because not everyone does). Reach out, be a listening ear and a friendly voice. It will mean the world to them.
- Create a special something in Canva or Paperless Post to email or text out to your friends and family. Something to make them smile and feel your warmth, no matter the distance.
- Have food delivered to your people. Goldbelly will deliver tasty treats nationwide, or check for a meal delivery option in their town.
be a light in your community
Do you have the capacity and ability to do good beyond your own home and friend/family groups? Amazing! Go, do.
- Make an appointment to donate blood. It’s never going to not be helpful. (Look online for what’s closest to you. Red Cross is almost everywhere and has blood drives going on constantly.)
- Donate stuff. Did you go the ‘stress cleaning’ route? Take the items that no longer serve you, but are still in working condition, and donate them. (A quick Google will help you find out where to donate your items.)
- Make cash donations, if you’re able. To national non-profits like the ACLU, local non-profits in your town (do a quick internet search and find your local food bank, homeless shelter, or other organization that could use support).
- Make a plan to volunteer. Contact local non-profits to find out how you can share a bit of your time to make someone else’s life better.
- Do one random act of kindness (or a lot more than one). Here’s a wonderful list of ideas.
- I wrote a post back in June that has a bunch of other ideas for things you can do in these times of unrest. Refer to that for more ideas.
We can’t make this long waiting process go any faster. We can’t change the outcome of the election (at this point). But we can take care of ourselves and each other. And frankly, that’s the best we can hope for right now. What are you doing today to get through? Share your ideas.
Friendly reminders: stay safe. wear a mask. keep breathing. hold onto hope.