What can we even say about the last ten days? The world appears to have been turned upside down and everyone just seems to be scrambling to make sense of it all. Common sense is at a premium, and well-being is being seriously compromised. If you are like me, and the millions of people around the world, you have yourself tapped into news almost all waking hours of the day.
Between "What happened now?" and "I can't believe it" we are caught up in a barrage of arguments, support, tweets, retweets, water cooler conversations, protests, letter writing campaigns, and pulses of information. For me, between the immigration ban and the shootings at the Montreal Mosque, it has been a tough weekend. We have to ask whether we are taking care of ourselves and of each other. This post is reminder to myself, as much as it is to others around me.
Here are a few things that we can all do to exercise compassion, get rest, rejuvenate. The fight is long. Don't burn out.
1. Unplug. No seriously. Turn off the computer and TV and get away from the media for a few hours. It doesn't matter what you go to do. The world will continue on when you're not there. The minute bits of information coming in will still trickle in. Go away. Come back when you've caught your breath.
2. Respect your own limits. We are addicted to the drama of our daily lives lately. And for some of us, it's far too late before we realize we have burned out. When you start feeling emotionally overwhelmed, or angry, or upset, know that this is your body telling you that it has reached its limit. Respect that.
3. Go outside. Whether you're heading to nature, or to your coffee shop, go somewhere else and enjoy being in places you want to be in. For me, it's the water. I head there when I'm feeling weary.
4. Respect others' processes. We all have different lenses and different priorities. We all process things different. Some people shut down, others might lash out. Respect other people's processes. Vocalize your own. You can talk when you are ready. You may never and that's okay too.
5. Connect with kindred spirits. My family and friends are important in my life (I don't always tell them this, because feelings). Reach out to others to see how they are. Ask for help when you need them too.
6. Have helpful conversations. It's easy to bloviate, to predict, to place bets. Easy, but not always helpful. It never helps to argue with someone who isn't respectful of you. So know when it's no longer helpful and learn to walk away.
7. The basics. Eat well, practice sleep hygiene, get your exercise. The basics are what fuel us daily. Remember that they don't go by the wayside because that means you'll be at the wayside.
8. Do your fun thing. Go do something that makes you happy. I love to read, and I find myself doing lots of that. If you love to hike, knit, cross-stitch profane tea towels or write letters, go do that. Go do the things that help your creativity. It's important to occupy all the spaces in your life.
9. Stay away from your triggers. This is important for anyone who struggles with impulse control. I love sugar and when I'm stressed, I want to eat all of the cookies. If someone tries to get in my way, they risk having their arm bitten. If you know and have your triggers, try to stay away from them. You generally end up in a far worse spot than initially. I end up with stomach aches.
10. Seek professional help. There is no harm in it. If you need it, see a doctor or counsellor.
For those who need something else to concentrate on, but don't have ideas:
Z-Type - Typing game where you get to laser shoot words.
The Dollop - A hilarious history podcast that has had me in stitches for weeks.
Poorly Drawn Lines - Comics by Reza Farazmand
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Such a great show. Jerry and his buddies are awesome.
The New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs section - They aren't all winners, but some of them are very funny.
Partita by Adnan Saygun - for the musically inclined, hear this piece played by Yo Yo Ma. It's a favourite.