There’s so much going on in the world, especially in America, that my brain can’t even process it all if I’m being honest. I’m feeling a mix of emotions, but the ones that continuously pop up are anger, disgust, and hurt. Our country is at odds with gun laws, women’s rights, and so much more — it’s nearly inevitable that it will take a toll on you in some way. I won’t get into the politics of it all because here is not the space for that, but I do want to remind you that you do not need to ask permission or feel guilty about checking out mentally. So, here are some of the ways you can bow out gracefully to preserve your mental health.
1. Delete social media from your phone for a few days.
Hold on, okay? Hear me out! I know some of you reading this are looking at your phone/computer/tablet like, “She’s joking, right?” I can honestly say that I’m not kidding. With social media, everyone is sharing their opinions on these controversial topics and it can get overwhelming, even if some of those opinions match your own. Sometimes, it’s better to just silence the outside voices so that you can hear your own.
2. Don’t ingest so much news content.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stay informed — that’s the last thing I’m saying. I’m merely suggesting that you don’t take in so much of it. It can be overwhelming to look at FOX news in the morning, CNN news in the afternoon, and read a newspaper article online in the evening. It’s just so much news, which can be too much to digest throughout the day. So, if you struggle with handling all of the chaos that’s been going on in the world lately, try sticking with a certain time of day that you check a news source. This way, you’re staying informed and you’re not flooding yourself with news each day throughout the day.
3. If you have some sick leave saved up, take a sick day.
People often forget that taking a sick day or two to care for your mental health is a thing. Well, I’m here to remind you! Sick days don’t just mean that you can’t get out of bed because you have the flu or you have a stomach bug. Sick days are for you to get well, and mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness. So, take yourself to Starbucks and grab your favorite drink. Book an appointment to get a body massage. Whatever you need to do to take your mind off of the craziness, take a sick day and take care of yourself.
4. Reserve time to yourself in a comfortable environment.
There’s nothing like the feeling of familiarity when everything seems uncertain, and that’s why I recommend finding a comfortable and familiar place to unwind. For me, I love to sit on my couch with a warm blanket and Sophie at my side. That is what’s familiar to me, and it brings me peace. Find a place like that if you don’t have one in your home and make it the sanctuary that you can retreat to when your brain is too active and you feel like you can’t get right.
5. Talk to someone you trust.
Be it with your parent, spouse, friend, or therapist, it’s important to talk to someone about what you’re feeling. If you can’t, try to do some self-reflection in a journal or some other creative outlet. Take a break from sending memes to your friend and talk about how you’ve been feeling. Take the chance of talking to your therapist about the taboo topic of politics because it may help you mentally in the long run. Holding everything inside does no one any good, so you should definitely find some way to release those frustrations and other emotions. Remember, your voice matters. Your opinion matters. Allow yourself the opportunity to scream, vent, cry, or do whatever you need to do.
Wrapping your head around everything that’s going on in the country and even what may be going on in your personal life is bound to make your head explode. So rather than trying to do the impossible and make sense of it all, try to just give yourself breaks when and where you need them. Listen to your body and mind because they will tell you what they need to keep you going.
Also, please don’t mistake my advice to take a break as advice to not get involved in causes that matter to you. If protesting or donating helps you feel better, then by all means, please do what you need to. Just make sure that you’re not overwhelming yourself or putting pressure on yourself to stay active. Again, take breaks from it all without guilt whenever you need to, if you ever need to. You owe it to yourself to make sure you’re okay.
“It’s the shock of the world if you allow yourself to disconnect from the world and forget it’s out there — how noisy it is, how busy it is, how invasive it is.”
– Terry Gilliam