It's only been a few weeks since a newly-unemployed Barack Obama went on vacation, leaving the rest of the United States to clean up the mess we created, but it's felt like an eternity. Finding little ways to take a break from politics is therefore incredibly important to keep you from getting exhausted by the already-exhausting situation in which we currently live. It doesn't matter how deeply you care about activism; unless technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since the last time I checked, it's not actually possible to become a tireless cyborg working 'round the clock. Instead, you wind up just being a stressed-out human, and that doesn't help anybody.
Politics have been a touchy subject since the formation of government, but the 2016 presidential election was especially trying. Seriously — research backs this up. According to a study from the American Psychological Association last October, the election was a source of "significant stress" for more than half of Americans, particularly among Millennials and the elderly. Now that He Who Shall Not Be Named has taken office, things haven't calmed down much; the current POTUS has been using a flurry of executive orders to further his policy goals, often to the dismay of many Americans (and the rest of the world, too). It's enough to make even the most levelheaded person want to head for the hills.
So what are you supposed to do when you need a break from all the nonsense going on in Washington? Here are 28 little suggestions.
1. Go for a walk outside.
2. For that matter, plan a hiking trip somewhere nearby.
3. Log out of Facebook, so you won't check it reflexively.
4. Check out the #cute tag on Instagram.
5. Power down your computer and read a book for a few minutes. (It's good for you!)
7. Stand up and stretch for at least five minutes.
8. Cuddle your pet.
9. Limit how often you check the news. Stay informed, but don't obsess.
10. If you don't have a pet, find one. Go to the animal shelter, or hang out with a friend who has a cat or dog.
11. Change up how you take lunch at work. If you normally eat alone, chat with your coworkers for a few minutes. If you always eat with a group, get some alone time for a change in routine.
12. Listen to a podcast about something you've never heard of.
13. Watch documentary about food or animals.
14. Go to a cafe by yourself. Bring a notebook and doodle.
15. Browse a bookstore without looking for anything in particular.
16. Go to the library.
17. Let your mind wander for 10 minutes.
18. Take a group exercise class.
19. If classes are too expensive, find a fitness video on YouTube. (There are literally thousands.)
20. Meet your best friend for happy hour.
21. Learn a dance move from your favorite music video — not all the choreography, but enough to add something new to your repertoire.
22. Listen to whatever music calms you down.
23. Leave your phone in the other room and take a bath.
24. Find a journal (or a piece of paper) and turn on your phone for a set amount of time. Write down whatever comes to mind.
25. Get up and make a cup of coffee or tea.
26. Write down three things that make you happy.
27. Institute a no-politics rule at dinner.
28. If you particularly like one of these activities, try to make it a routine, so the stress doesn't build up again.