No matter which way you slice it, this week is going to be an intense one. Maybe you feel like there’s a lot on the line and not much you can do about it. Perhaps you feel caught in the middle of two loved ones whose opposing beliefs are the source of tension. You might be hoping for the best but expecting the worst. The sheer amount of unknowns might make it seem hard to catch your breath.
The one thing that’s true of all collective shifts is that we are all in this together. In a time where distance is encouraged and ideological divides seem deeper than ever, it’s easy to feel like our reactions are extreme or individual — that there’s a big group of people who could never understand how you’re feeling. The reality is, no matter how different our beliefs may seem, our reactions, hopes, and fears are all extremely human — and we are all feeling them, at different rates and different times, together.
Here are some hard truths: regardless of this week’s outcomes, there’s a lot of division we’re going to have to wade through. There will be people in your life who are excited and hopeful. There will be people in your life who are upset, scared and sad. There will be people around the country expressing their emotions in extreme ways. Things might seem unstable. You might feel unsafe.
How do we prepare for such an intense collective experience? Well, for one thing, we have to remember that the only way out is through. Everyone is getting off the bus. When we get there, you might look around and think: I hate it here, I’m mad at the people who made us come here, and I want to go somewhere else where I feel safer. Unfortunately, where we get off is where we’re living — at least for the next little while. We’re going to need a plan to make it feel like home.
Give yourself permission to feel
The gamut of possible emotions you might experience this week is vast. If some or most of those feelings are “lower vibe,” it's important to get them out of your body. You must allow yourself to feel. Suppressing emotions, especially the icky ones, can literally make us sick. So, what can we do to help us process?
1. Lean on your community. Make a list of people you can call or safely spend time with this week. Make time for family (chosen family counts too).
2. Break out the journal. Every morning, set aside time to fill three pages of your journal. It can be total word vomit — no one is reading this but you. The important part is to get your unfiltered, raw thoughts and emotions out of your mind and body and onto the page.
3. Move. Your. Body. Wake up with the sun and take advantage of that extra hour of light we now have before the day gets started. Go on a walk. Put on a yoga video. Dance in your living room. Scrub your kitchen floors. Stand up and do ten jumping jacks. Do whatever is accessible to you.
4. Give yourself space. Allow yourself to cancel an unnecessary meeting. Take a walk. Go for a drive. Close your door. Take five minutes to breathe.
Create a sense of safety
There's always going to be a lot of things we can't control, but try not to let yourself feel powerless. Focus on taking action and implementing healthy, self-soothing behaviors. Do whatever you can to remind yourself that everything is going to be ok. As Glennon Doyle says, "We can do hard things."
1. Focus on your physical health. Eating healthy foods, finding time to exercise, putting on a guided meditation, getting enough sleep, and limiting alcohol consumption are all incredible methods for creating a sense of inner safety.
2. Create ambiance. Music is powerful — put on something soothing. Smell has an intense connection to memory, so pick a scent that reminds you of a time you felt safe and bring it into your home. Prepare meals you love (or get takeout from your favorite place). Break out the soft blankets and comfy sweaters.
3. Remember you are capable. If you’re not someone who already does this, make a list of your daily tasks and cross them off as they’re completed. Put everything on there — we’re talking brushing your teeth, making your bed, preparing breakfast. Acknowledging all you’ve done in a day and ceremoniously crossing things off your list inspires a sense of accomplishment and mastery.
Find your power
There’s no greater source of purpose and joy than serving others. What are some ways you can give to those around you? Incorporate a spirit of generosity into your day. Consider some short and long-term goals you can set.
- Cook a meal for a new mom
- Foster an animal before they’re placed in a permanent home
- Call an elderly member of your community to check in and say hi
- Sign up to volunteer with a local organization that’s aligned with your beliefs
- Donate money (even just a few bucks) to a cause you believe in
- Give a stranger a compliment
- When you’re buying your morning coffee, pay for the person behind you in line
- Text someone you miss and tell them you’re thinking of them
- Let a coworker you admire know you think they’re doing a great job
How are you feeling this week? What healthy habits are you implementing? Let us know in the comments below!