You're outraged. Angry. Depressed, and scared. In the one week Donald Trump has been president, more than a dozen policies have been introduced that could limit the rights of millions. These are healthy emotions — and it's also important to remain productive and hopeful by practicing self care during Trump's presidency. Getting run down when you're already feeling down can have real consequences for both your physical and mental health, so it's more important to take care of yourself now than ever.
Taking care of yourself when everything seems to be spiraling out of control isn't always as easy as it sounds. Personally, I've been compulsively scrolling on my phone reading article after article of bad news — and I've definitely been losing sleep as a result. This past week has seemed nothing short of a horror show; facing each day to see what Trump has said or done while you were sleeping (or trying to) feels like pushing a boulder up a hill. And just when you don't think it can get any worse? It does.
It's easy to feel helpless, and the constant social media scrolling that delivers an onslaught of negative news only compounds the despair. But remember, there is work to be done to resist Trump's policies, and you won't be able to continue the fight if you forget to take care of yourself.
Here are seven ways you can make yourself a priority while still staying active in your fight against Trump's policies.
1Talk to Your Friends About Something Other Than Trump
While it's easy to make what has happened during Trump's first week in office the topic of every conversation, it's not healthy to do so. Sometimes you need a break from all of the negative news — and a great way to do that is to get together with friends and talk about something else for a little while.
Earlier this week, I got a text from a friend who lives a mile away that basically said, "Because everything is in the toilet, this is what I am doing." She sent it with a picture of a bottle of Prosecco. I replied: "I'll be right over."
We had gone to the Women's March in Los Angeles together on Jan. 21, and had left feeling hopeful. However, the events of this week made us both feel bad about everything else in our lives, because negative energy has a way of spreading like a cancer. After I got her text, I headed to my friend's house, and we had a glass of Prosecco on the patio. We talked about everything but Trump, and after two hours, we both felt a lot better.
2Turn Off The News And Watch Something Else
I don't have a TV, but I have been consuming far too much negative news on my computer and phone. According to the Huffington Post, as little as just three minutes of negative news can make you 27 percent more likely to have a bad day.
I'm pretty sure I'm consuming 10,000 times the recommended amount of negative news. It all caught up with me a few days ago, and I decided to combat my downward spiral of Trump terror news with the exact opposite — Gilmore Girls. I never watched the show while it was on TV, so I am now beginning a Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix, and luckily there are enough seasons to soothe me whenever the negative news cycle gets too heavy.
3Counteract Negative News With Positive News
With the barrage of bad news coming at you like a tidal wave, it may seem difficult to find any good news. Luckily, there's an app for that. Springpop, founded by Alex Pierson while she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, supplies users with motivational quotes and positive articles each morning based on their interests, making it a great platform to help you develop a more positive mindset to combat the effects of the daily negative news cycle.
4Develop A Mindfulness Meditation Practice
Science has proven (yes, science — I still believe in that!) that as little as 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can help calm your amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for alerting you to danger and keeping you safe.
"We’ve seen over and over again that a diligent approach to mindfulness can help people create a one-second mental space between an event or stimulus and their response to it," Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, and Gitte Dybkjaer wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article. "One second may not sound like a lot, but it can be the difference between making a rushed decision that leads to failure and reaching a thoughtful conclusion that leads to increased performance."
So to simplify, your amygdala might be (understandably) overactive in response to recent events — but just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day can calm it down.
5Seek A Supportive Network
If there is one silver lining in Trump's presidency, for me, it's that is has brought me and some of my family members closer together. As is the case for many people, some members of my family voted for Trump. And, not surprisingly, some of my other, non-Trump-voting family members and I took it as a personal assault as women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and as relatives and friends of veterans, people with disabilities and people of color. "How could our family do this?" we asked ourselves.
Finally one of my cousins started a Facebook message thread, and added me and two other cousins. We had all been seeing each other's posts, and we knew we stood together. We live in different cities and states, and range in age from our late teens to our 30s, but the reality of Trump's presidency has caused us to band together to talk about our hurt and frustration. And that has made a big difference — really.
If you don't have a supportive network of family or friends, you can look for like-minded people and form a MeetUp group. Or email me — I'm here for you.
6Give Yourself A Social Media Curfew
This sounds easier than it is, but it can be done. For example, I have a friend who gives herself a screen time curfew: At a designated time she stops watching TV, and using social media, and instead does restorative things like reading a book, or taking a bath. "I essentially treat myself like a baby," she told me.
I must admit, I'm not that evolved. The night before the Women's March, I was scrolling away on Facebook, and I came across a post from one of my cousins who had thrown a Trump inauguration party. He posted pictures of party-goers interacting with a life-sized Trump cardboard cutout.
I instantly got upset and went to wake up my friend who was staying over. I launched into my tirade about how upset I was about the photos. She asked me to stop, explaining that it's not good to absorb negative energy before bed.
She's right. Medical Daily reported that spending more time online puts you at a higher risk for sleep disturbances. Additionally, a study published in Preventative Medicine reported that 57 percent of participants who used social media more than 61 minutes a day suffered from sleep disturbances.
If you're having trouble sleeping, consider limiting your screen time and instead ending your evening with an uplifting book or a few minutes of gentle yoga instead.
7Get Outside In Nature
The benefits of getting outside are well documented. From getting natural vitamin D from the sun's rays, unplugging from technology (leave your phone at home), centering your mind, lowering stress hormones, and improving your blood pressure, the simple act of going for a walk can go a long way toward recharging your mind, body and spirit.
For me, walking around in nature puts things into perspective. The world is bigger than Donald Trump, even though it might not seem like it right now. Once I get outside, and take in the fresh air, the sky and the trees, he certainly seems less significant.
You've got this. I've got this. We've all got this.