I will open this post by saying that we are living in a new time. No longer can we turn a blind eye to what is happening in the world. We can’t shrug responsibility by using excuses like “not getting political”, “focusing only on positivity”, or “giving attention to only the highest good”. It is time for all of us to truly embody our values and bring love and light everywhere, including the American political system.
No matter how you voted in the 2016 Election (or if you’re not a US citizen and just watching the circus), these first few days in Trump’s America have been a whirlwind. The 24-hour news cycle coupled with social media echo chambers give us a relentless stream of attention-grabbing headlines and good and bad information. While it is necessary to stay informed, absorbing all of this can be emotionally and mentally draining.
Now, more than ever, it is important to cultivate a self-care practice. We all are being called to stand up for our values and we can’t serve from an empty tank. We have a civic duty to remain informed citizens but we can’t sacrifice our health in the process.
Below find some info on how to practice self-care living in the digital age of politics.
1. Limit Your Information Intake
Though it can be tempting to go down Twitter or Facebook rabbit holes, just don’t do it. Implement boundaries around your news consumption. You may decide to only check your news sources once or twice per day for a set amount of time, maybe skip a day all together. The news is everywhere. Even if you personally never looked at your phone for hours, you would overhear or see news in a store, cafe, or during your commute home. Additionally, consider independent news. Partisan news outlets use emotions to stir their readers in a particular direction. If you only consume news that causes an emotional reaction, you’ll find yourself even more drained.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Our physical body is the seat of personal power during our lifetimes. Take care of your temple. It is vital to understand your health and have a daily regimen involving physical movement and a balanced diet. Be sure you’re eating nutrient dense whole foods and limiting the processed foods and refined sugars. I’ve kicked up my daily yoga practice to the Ashtanga primary series and can already feel the difference. As we build strength in our bodies, we build confidence and conviction. We clear out old blocked energy and create space for clarity.
3. Daily Spiritual Practice
There is a bigger plan. You cannot gain peace during uncertain times if you don’t trust that things are working for the highest good. No matter what your spiritual tradition, this is the time to recommit to creating sacred space in your day. Perhaps it’s meditation and morning prayer or reading spiritual texts. Faith gives us a power beyond what we can do alone. As we open ourselves up to become channels for the divine will, we find that we have the energy and strength to do what we are called to do. We are loved and we are taken care of. Get in touch with this deep knowing each day to stay grounded.
4. Show Up
Use the guilt or fear you feel during this time as fuel. Get behind causes you support. Call your senators. Donate to groups you need your help. Go to a march. Show up for your community and commit to volunteering to help those in need. The best way to stop inertia is to get up and get going. Do more than just consume information, seek to create the change you’re looking for.
I cannot say this enough, but REST! A constant stream of information is emotionally and mentally taxing. Feeling drained paired with an improper diet and inadequate sleep creates a recipe for exhaustion. If you feel you’re being called to be a warrior and fight, you are going to be expending a lot of energy. Take the time you need to rest. Go to bed early. Sleep in a bit. Decrease your commitments. Make sure you are making rest a priority so that you are full and able to show up 100%.
6. Enjoy Your Self
When the news is too full of doom and gloom, unplug and enjoy yourself. Get together with friends IRL, paint, or hit the movies. I think cultivating hobbies and interests outside of politics helps provide a sense fulfillment and restoration in humanity. Make time for yourself each week and treat yoself!
We are living on a new frontier! While this time is chaotic and cray, it also holds an opportunity for us to create a new world based on inclusion and love. We have to the power to change oppressive and outdated policies but we need everyone to show up. Please take care of yourself during this time. For other self-care ideas check out this article originally written for SivanaSpirit.com.