It's always important to practice self-care, but it can feel especially necessary to take time out to care for yourself in light of Donald Trump's first days in office. No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, tensions are high across the board and a lot of people are feeling anxious and depressed about the future — especially with so many executive orders being signed and so much frightening legislation being pushed through.
For some of us, our rights are literally at stake under the new administration: People are worried about rollbacks on LGBTQ issues, reproductive health, and immigration in no small ways. Concerns about the environment, taxes, and affordable healthcare are also significant talking points that can leave people feeling overwhelmed at best and helpless at worst.
In response to adversity, many people are taking a stand by participating in marches, engaging in open dialogues with those who disagree with them, writing about their thoughts and ideas, and so forth. While activism can make an incredible difference, it can also be incredibly draining, especially for people who are marginalized and dealing with multiple intersections of oppression, like people with disabilities, trans women of color, and so on.
Unpaid emotional labor is real, whether it's in person or online. That's why it's so important to remember to practice self-care on a regular basis, or seek out new forms of self-care when your old methods just aren't holding up.
Here's how to deal when it feels like the actions Trump has taken in just his first few days feel like a direct attack on your rights:
1Limit Your News Time
While it's important to stay educated and informed, the news cycle can feel never-ending and keeping up with it 24/7 can lead to burnout. Whether you get your news from the TV, internet, radio, or your neighbor, it's OK to limit your consumption to, say, a certain amount of time per day, or to cap discussion of the news with friends or loved ones to a certain window of time. Giving yourself breaks when you need them will help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed
2Block Trump From Your Internet
Thanks to the Trump Filter, you can literally block Trump from your Internet in just a few easy clicks. Or you can install Make America Kittens Again, which will turn Trump into kittens. It's true that they won't solve the major problems plaguing our country right now — but they might help you
This one can be tricky, but it's so important: Establishing boundaries about what you're willing to talk about, when, and where can make a big impact on your mental health.
For example, if you often talk about your own experience having an abortion as a means of discussing the necessity of Planned Parenthood, you might find that talking about such a personal subject over and over again becomes draining or triggering. It's OK to establish boundaries about when you feel ready to share or debate a subject and when you need a break.
4Find A Support Group
Especially if you live in an environment where you feel isolated or misunderstood, it can feel especially important to find a support group, whether virtual or in person. Talk to friends and family; check out groups on social media; look for like-minded people to get together with on MeetUp; and more.
5Consume Media That Inspires You
Sales of George Owell's 1984 are already up, suggesting that many of us are turning to literature in this troubled time. Take this opportunity to read more books by women of color, books by queer writers, and even diverse comic books. Also: Movies and documentaries that highlight marginalized voices totally count!
6Spend Time Outside
For much of the country, the weather is pretty bad right now, but you can still spend time outside. Making a point to get in a thirty minute walk, jog, or bike ride can make a huge difference, but simply sitting at your local park and taking in your surroundings can be a great way to disconnect and refocus your thoughts. If you need to keep your mind occupied, consider walking a neighbor's dog or doing some gardening.
7Check In With Yourself Regularly
Personally, I've found that many people, including myself, tend to only start thinking about self-care when we're already at a breaking point. When times are already tough, it's particularly important to make a regular habit of checking in with yourself even on a day that feels fine, or even feels good.
Decide on a set time to write in a journal, meditate, do a facial, whatever makes you slow down and get inside your own head. This might help you identify what aspects of your life need a nudge out, and what positives you need to highlight and seek more of.
If you do only one thing on this list, do this one. Our biggest enemies right now are hopelessness and complacency. One can easily lead to the other, but staying active can help stop that from happening.