Step away from the chaos. Disengage from the madness. It’s time to stop giving him our most precious resource: our attention.
(the goddess Selena & her hips are the only spin cycle I acknowledge)
I’ve spent the past few weeks watching too much Charmed, so forgive me if this reads like an early 2000s WB drama, but that man is stealing all our energy. It’s hard to know what stage of grief we’re on because with every new Executive Order, tweet, or unorthodox press conference, the grief cycle resets. These first seven days have felt like I was trapped in an aggressive spin cycle and I desperately want out. The bad news is that he’s not going anywhere (yet), but I don’t have to keep feeding into his sick cycle carousel and neither do you.
Protecting ourselves from the chaos of the news cycle doesn’t mean that we don’t care about the issues. In many ways, the speed at which this administration creates headlines has more in common with fast fashion than we’re comfortable admitting. A short life cycle, shoddy construction, and dangerous working conditions are just a few of the similarities between our current political climate and disposable clothing, not to mention an inferior fit. But now that we’ve made our final sale impulse purchase, we’ve got to make the best of a bad outfit.
As someone whose online and offline worlds are seamlessly blended, I understand the temptation to stare at the never-ending stream of tweets from respected reporters out of FOMO. In an effort to help you recharge, refocus, and maintain some semblance of self-care, I’m sharing a few of my coping strategies.
Consume tweets responsibly
Twitter can be the best resource for news, but in times of change, it can also be incredibly overwhelming. Twitter Moments were initially heavily criticized and misunderstood, but they have evolved into a dynamic source for the latest trending topics, political and otherwise. If you’ve been away from the platform for a few hours, it’s an easy way to catch up on the highlights.
For something more curated, I highly recommend creating a List of your favorite journalists covering the White House and referencing that List instead of your streaming timeline as a way to temper the flow of information. Following editorial properties, like Politico or The Hill, can get overwhelming due to the sheer volume of daily content, so add these to your List with caution.
In only seven days, there have been many references to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and a resurgence of interest in George Orwell’s 1984. Both are dystopian novels that feel all too familiar in this regressive time. Connecting with physical copies of books not only releases us from the temptation of checking our notifications, but it also transports us away from sources of stress into another world entirely. Escapism is a completely valid – and necessary – form of coping.
Until last year, pillow mist was my most frequent type of aromatherapy. After a friend relied on peppermint oil to relieve her nausea and graciously shared her remedy after a medication turned my world upside down, I became converted. I discovered an aromatherapy diffuser at my family’s house in Maine on my last visit and it has regularly helped relieve my stress when life gets a little too intense. I’ve also turned to my friend Nicole at Stone Cold Betch for essential oil uses and blend recommendations. Fragrance can help to recalibrate your space, so whether it’s through aromatherapy or your favorite candle, the slightest infusion can make the biggest difference.
Political news can be like an iceberg, with the headline floating above the surface and complex details hidden below. Stories need time to develop, which is why I advocate for the measured consumption of quality coverage. But don’t get me wrong. We’re all going to get trapped by click bait and breaking news, but I believe that subscribing to institutions like the NYT will contribute to the relentless pursuit of truth we so desperately need.
Work in our own community
While it’s satisfying to know that our #resist tweets are getting under his skin, online activism can only go so far. Protests are an effective form of resistance not only because of their disruptive nature, but through empowerment that comes from uniting with other like-minded people around a central cause. To sustain that momentum, it’s vital that we organize our efforts locally. A great starting point is with the Women’s March On Washington’s plan for 10 actions in the first 100 days. Thinking more locally (for NYC where I live), there’s a helpful website called We Are New York Values that has categorized local organizations that need volunteers, support, and resources. If you’re not in NYC, I hope that you’re able to connect with local groups through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
If you have a tip or resource to include in this list, please share in the comments below.