Don’t Burnt Out—We Need You This Year

Staying engaged takes a lot of physical and emotional energy.  Just following current events and the daily assaults on our democracy makes one want to sink into a slough of despond.  I should know.  After the 2016 election I developed very high blood pressure.  Through that experience, I learned how to break out of my worry spiral and take some time to refresh and recharge.  Of course everyone needs to find what works best for them, but here are some of the self-care actions that work for me.

Step Forward and Step Back
To quote from the Americans of Conscience Checklist (one of my favorite activist newsletters—link HERE

“Have you ever watched a flock of Canada geese migrating together across a clear blue sky? You’ve probably heard that the chevron formation allows them to draft on each other’s currents, making it possible to travel farther with ease.

All my life, I thought geese followed the leader at the tip of the V—the one with the best sense of direction and the most powerful wings. But I learned recently that each goose takes a turn at leading. As the leader tires, another goose takes her place, then another.”

Her point is that we need to rely on our like-minded community and come in and out of activism as we are able.

Exercise in Nature
Hiking is one of my favorite ways to calm my mind.  On the Penndel trail in the White Clay Creek Park you can walk for three miles along a scenic valley stream without seeing any houses.  Find a scenic trail near you!

Enjoy Nonpolitical Media
As a current events junkie, I sometimes have to stop “doomscrolling” on Twitter and read a book or listen to a podcast on a subject other than politics.  Try podcasts Cults, Dirty John (a husband from hell), Bear Brook (true crime and genealogical research), or Sweet Bobby (catfishing).

After my bout with high blood pressure, I discovered that mindfulness practices helped me stay calm.  You don’t have to spend much time—as little as three minutes a day.  Try the book the Three Minute Meditator by Nina Smiley or the Headspace App.

Of course there are many other ideas—interacting with a pet, connecting with friends, sleeping, journaling, gardening, and just practicing gratitude for how comparatively good our lives are.  To quote from the Americans of Conscience Checklist again, “please take really good care of yourself—whether you’re flapping or coasting. We need you in the flock for the long haul.”

~ Tammis Dowling