Self-care can sound cliche, but it’s important in times like these.
As a therapist, I know how important it is to have actionable tips for taking care of yourself.
Self-care can sound cliche, but in the 2016 election drama, it’s important to go back to the basics. Here are a few small things you can do right now:
1. Give yourself time and space to process the shock and grief you may be feeling.
Don’t try to rush your own personal process around this. Absorbing shocks takes time and yes, you absolutely do get to grieve this.
2. Squeeze your loved ones extra tight today.
If you have children, let them express their fears and feelings and talk with them about what this means. Reassure them that you’ll protect them and that you’ll get through this together. If you have vulnerable or disenfranchised minority groups as friends and family, reach out and see how they’re doing and what they may need specifically. Remind them and yourself that we’ve made it through tough political times before, and we will do so again.
3. Take exceptional care of yourself.
In times of shock and crisis, it’s critical that we return to the basics of self care: eat well, get enough sleep, move your body, express your feelings safely. Take things one day at a time (and if that feels like too much, five minutes at a time). Reach out for mental health support if you’re struggling: contact a therapist in your area, visit your local student counseling center, reach out to your local clergy, call a crisis hotline. Access all the supports you need in order to comfort yourself.
4. Connect with like-minded others who share your feelings.
Reaching out and connecting with like-minded others who share your sense of shock, sadness, confusion, and anger can be healing and can possibly help you feel less alone. (I’m a big fan of Pantsuit Nation.)
5. Start or continue your own personal work.
Now more than ever, we each need to take responsibility for engaging in conversations about white privilege, racism, sexism, gendered stereotypes, and abusive relationships. Continue to do your own work around your shadow parts so you can better show up as an ally in the repairing of the fabric of this nation. When we as individuals heal ourselves and make the unconscious conscious, we help the collective heal, too.
6. Donate, serve, give back.
Consider donating to groups like Planned Parenthood or other organizations that will likely come under greater attack. Volunteer your time and professional expertise to your community that may be grieving. Use your voice to educate and empower those around you.
7. Finally, don’t give up hope.
Look, I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know what the coming months and years might hold. I think it’s normal and natural for our minds to go to catastrophe but I encourage you, as hard as it may be, to come back to the present and recognize that we simply don’t know what will happen in the future. All we can do, collectively, is take things one day at a time and keep showing up for our lives and for each other in healthy, functional ways. In doing so, we can influence the present and affect our futures.