A few people have come to session recently sharing that they feel exactly like this: frustrated and ready to hide.
So for those of you struggling in our current political climate and looking for ways to cope, I have a few strategies for you.
If you are feeling helpless, it could be helpful to take action. A lot of clients I work with struggle with black and white thinking, meaning if they can't change things completely they quickly jump to the thought "why bother?" I'm here to encourage you to try and find the gray area. Maybe you can't change some things, but you can change something. Try to find a meaningful step to take each week and give yourself credit for doing so.
10 actions in 100 days. Women's March organizers are adding a new action step every 10 days to help people feel engaged. See what they are here
Reach out to your local members of congress and express your concerns. Check out this article that references tips from a former congressional staffer and contact your local elected officials to voice your concerns. You can look up contact info for them here.
Pick 1 or 2 organizations that speak to you and donate, volunteer, or help spread their message! I say 1 or 2 because we have a limited amount of time in our days, weeks, and months and while it can be tempting to be involved in them all you don't want to overwhelm yourself! Here are a few to get you started ( of course there are many more not on this list, feel free to share in the comments!)
HIAS- "HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom."
KIND- "KIND serves as the leading organization for the protection of children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no such child appears in immigration court without representation. We achieve fundamental fairness through high-quality legal representation and by advancing the child’s best interests, safety, and well-being."
ACLU- "For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States."
Black Lives Matter- "Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement."
Emily's List- "Our vision is a government that reflects the people it serves, and decision makers who genuinely and enthusiastically fight for greater opportunity and better lives for the Americans they represent. We will work for larger leadership roles for pro-choice Democratic women in our legislative bodies and executive seats so that our families can benefit from the open-minded, productive contributions that women have consistently made in office."
Planned Parenthood- "Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
While taking action is important and can help you feel engaged it's also important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and taking a break from time to time and living your life. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Take a social media and media break! With phones and tablets constantly at hand it can be easy to get caught up in reading every new post and update and wasting hours getting lost in the thick of it.
Don't reach for your phone first thing ( unless required by the nature of your work) if it can wait, try to ease in to the day and wait 30 min before media consumption
Turn your phones/tablets/computers off about 1-2 hours before bed. Give yourself a chance to unwind with more relaxing things like reading, chatting with your roommates or family members, spending time with your pet, journaling, mediation, etc.
Limit your time consuming media. Allow a set amount of time to catch up on current events and then move on to your next task. Set a timer if it helps you stay on track!
Make sure you keep doing things you enjoy. It is important that you still take time to spend time with friends & family, keep up with your hobbies, and do new things.
Get enough sleep! I can't emphasize this enough in its role in our overall health. Don't trust me? Ask Harvard.
Mindfulness Practice. If you have one already, make it a priority. If you don't you can start with a favorite of mine, mindful coloring. You can also look for mediation classes at your local yoga studio.
Therapy. If you're finding yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the thoughts and feelings you are having right now it might be a good time to reach out to a therapist. Therapy is a great tool to help you process your feelings and learn about healthy coping strategies to use in times like this.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. If you have others please don't hesitate to share!