How To Stay Angry While Also Practicing Self-Care This Year
So you cast your vote in November and marched in the streets in January, and in the aftermath, maybe you're starting to notice that all that totally justified anger is bad for your heart. Unfortunately, I can tell you from experience that recognizing this fact doesn't stop your blood pressure from spiking at the the very sight of Donald Trump's face. That leaves us with a pressing question: How do you stay angry while practicing self-care at the same time? It's easy to forget the basic stuff when the news is as depressing as it has been lately, which makes it all the more important to remind yourself both to fight, and to take care of yourself.
There's a fine line between doing your part to speak out against an administration that is already proving to be deeply disturbing, and obsessing over the current political climate. The problem is that this line is different for everyone; some people thrive on conflict and staying busy, while others get sweaty palms at the very thought of picking up the phone. You know where your own limits are, and if not, you should probably find out before you burn out. Anger can be useful; it can help keep your momentum going and help you keep fighting. But It's only useful when it's channeled constructively — otherwise, it can turn destructive instead.
We can all benefit from self-care tips, and putting them into practice doesn't mean you have to give up the anger that fueled protests like the Women's March. Here are nine ways to stay angry and (mostly) sane.
1. Stick To A Few News Sources — And Give Yourself A Break Sometimes
It's obviously important to keep up with current events over the next four years — ignoring the news isn't going to stop it from happening — but reading it constantly is just going to bombard you with information. To keep from being desensitized or overwhelmed, stick to articles from a few trusted news sources, and don't spend all your free time scrolling through them.
2. Don't Forget To Sleep (Seriously)
Being sleep-deprived is just going to make you cranky in an unproductive way. Need some help getting to sleep? That's understandable; it can be hard to catch your zzzz's when you're worried and angry. Here are a few strategies to start.
3. Limit Your Social Media Use
You don't have to completely swear off of social media (unless you want to, of course), but if it always sets your blood boiling, try to limit the time spent scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and so on and so forth.
4. Choose Your Follows Wisely
There are two sides to this proverbial coin. On the one side of it, as infuriating as some people's opinions may be, it might not be advisable to go on an unfollowing spree right now. The social media echo chamber is one of the reasons so many were surprised by the results of the election — if you only interact with people with views similar to your own, you wind up living in a blissfully ignorant bubble.
That said, although those statuses are a good reminder of why you're fighting for progress, you also don't have to stay friends with people you actively dislike. The key is in the balance: Don't shut yourself off from every view that's different from your own, but don't feel like you need to hang onto people who are discourteous, rude, or downright mean about it.
5. Set Aside Time For Breaks
If you're super active in the political scene, great! Just don't feel like you need to spend every second of your free time at protests or organizing letter-writing campaigns, because that way lies burnout. The presidency lasts four years, so you're in it for the long haul — maybe take one weekend a month to focus on activities that have nothing to do with politics.
6. Pick Your Battles
Again, a presidential term lasts four years. That's a long time, so you'll probably want to learn to pick your battles. You don't have to be "on" all the time, nor are you obligated to educate everyone who makes a vaguely ignorant comment.
7. Talk About Current Events With Friends
Stewing alone in your room doesn't accomplish much, so talk about what makes you angry with your friends. They probably feel the same way, and there's nothing so satisfying as a shared rant.
8. Relax Before Bed
Anger may get things done, but it's also one of those things that has a habit of keeping people awake until 3 a.m. End the day with a little relaxation — even just half an hour of something non-political — so you'll actually be able to go to sleep when you intend to. This might help.
9. Don't Over-Commit
Finally, don't commit to more than you can handle. Start out by volunteering for one or two organizations, or choosing an activity or two to perform once a week. If you can handle more, great! If not, don't be afraid to scale it back. Anger is the most useful when it's channeled into something productive, not when it leaves you so stressed out you start looking into moving to Canada.
There's no getting around it: These are dangerous and frightening times. But in order to fight back, we have to make sure that we're taking care of ourselves, too. So go hug a friend or loved one — and then get to work with that friend or loved one. Because we have a lot to do.