Here's How to Keep Fighting the Good Fight-- And Win
At the Tony Awards last weekend, Robert DeNiro took the stage, went off script, and bluntly shouted, “F – Trump!” The “F bomb” reverberated around the room and everyone jumped to their feet and started cheering! It was cathartic. And let’s face it; we could all use a little catharsis these days.
Many of us can no longer stomach the evening news. The daily barrage of transgressions from this administration is just too much. It has left all of us feeling embattled, hopeless, even depressed. In fact, the internet has coined a term for this, “Trumppression.” And while those feelings are completely understandable, they are not acceptable. If we give in to despair, we lose the energy to fight. And fight we must. So here are four tips to stay sane while continuing to resist this reckless administration.
1) MAKE SELF CARE A PRIORITY - You have to be fit for a fight, so please take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat right. Exercise. Breathe deeply. Splurge on a massage or a facial. If you do Yoga, make it a religion. If you don’t, start. Stress can take a physical-- and an emotional-- toll, so please listen to your body. If you are feeling overly stressed, it might be time to see a therapist, particularly if you are inclined to self-medicate (and goodness knows, if anyone could drive us to drink, it is The Donald). At the very least, talk to like-minded friends and family and share with them what you are feeling. Sometimes just talking with others who empathize can really help. It will likely help them too!
2) TUNE OUT BUT STAY INFORMED - Long before the Russians stole the 2016 election, mental health professionals have advocated for taking periodic media breaks. Too much bad news is damaging to our psyches. However, that it is exactly what many in power are counting on. With so much going on, with so many outrageous acts, they are hoping people aren’t paying attention. So we absolutely must find a way to tune out the noise while also staying informed. One strategy is to pick a single source for news and tune everything else out. For example, read the Washington Post daily but never turn on the evening news. Or cut out all media except for NPR. NPR will keep you apprised of everything that matters but it will be sprinkled with interesting perspectives on everything from science to the arts, so it isn’t just current (horrifying) events. Another strategy is to limit yourself to checking the news for only a certain amount of time each day – say, 10 minutes first thing in the morning. We can handle anything for 10 minutes, right?
3) PICK ONE ISSUE THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT AND FOCUS ON IT – Many of us feel overwhelmed by the range of issues that are under assault because we care about all of them – from the environment, to healthcare, to education, to immigration (good heavens – separating children from their parents, really?), to restricting LGBT rights, to attacks on the media, to cavorting with despots in North Korea and alienating our closest allies in the same week! So pick just one issue and focus on that. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You will be more effective if you can hone in on one topic, really learn about it, and engage accordingly. Taking action is the best way to counter the feelings of despair.
4) DO YOUR PART FOR THE 2018 ELECTIONS - Let’s face it. If we are upset about the status quo but are doing little to change it, we are part of the problem instead of part of the solution. The ONLY solution we have in front of us is to make sure we vote in the 2018 midterms and then the 2020 presidential election. We must do whatever we can to help. If you can volunteer, there are many opportunities. Campaigns need canvassers, phone bankers and general office help.
As Rosa Parks once said, “There is work to do; that is why I cannot stop or sit still. As long as a child needs help, as long as people are not free, there will be work to do. As long as an elderly person is attacked or in need of support, there will be work to do. As long as we have bigotry and crime, we have work to do.”