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Self-care & Managing the Chaos

Being part of the resistance is grueling work. It means casting off your blinders and seeing the world for what it is, not what we want it to be. It’s a commitment to working to make it better, however and whenever you can and part of that means taking care of yourself, your mind, and your body, so that you’re up to the fight, because it’s going to be a long one.
Here are five ideas to help keep you sane during the fight for social justice! I promise all five together take up no more than 30-minutes of your day.

  1. Take 15-minutes to Read for Pleasure. Seriously, as a member of the resistance you read a lot. I know that every time my phone pings with an update from The New York Times or The Guardian or CNN, I cringe, but then I dive in, because knowledge is power. That doesn’t mean that reading is now relegated to ONLY politic content. Your brain needs a break and you need an escape. Fifteen minutes isn’t going to kill you and besides, if you put those trashy books and magazines on a tablet, no one will know you’re reading smut anyway!
  2. Go on a 5-minute Walk. When you start wanting to throw your stapler at Ted from Sales because he just called you and your co-worker “girls” for the 10th time today, take a walk. Five minutes makes a difference.
  3. Slow Down with a 1-minute breathing break. When was the last time you sat still and counted your breath? Try this out: set a timer on your phone for 1 minute, when you start the time take slow, even breaths, counting as you do, 1 for inhale, 2 for exhale, 3 for inhale…and on and on. You’re going to get distracted, that’s okay. Instead of giving in to the distraction keep breathing and counting. When your timer goes off, chances are you’ll feel a little more centered.
  4. Give your mood a boost with a 5-minute Music Break. NO SAD SONGS. Pick one of your favorite “pick-me-up” tunes and just listen. You know the one, that song that makes you smile, no matter what’s going on? The jam you sing out-loud to when no one is listening? Put it on and REALLY LISTEN TO IT! Your brain will try to distract you and that’s okay. No big deal. Just tell it to wait a few minutes until your favorite song is over.
  5. The 4-minute Systems Check. Here’s one for those moments when you realize that your shoulders are crawling up to your ears because Aunt Agnes just told you she voted for Trump and you’re trying not to swallow your tongue. Find a quiet space, I like to hide in the bathroom at family gatherings. Set your timer for 4 minutes and:
    1. Tense both feet for 15 seconds (please not hard enough to make your toes do that weird, ‘they have a life of their own’ thing), then release for 10 seconds;
    2. Tense both feet and both calves for 15 seconds, then release for 10 seconds;
    3. Tense both feet, calves, and thighs for 15 seconds, then release for 10 seconds;
    4. Tense your whole lower body including your butt and abdomen for 15 seconds, then release for 10 seconds;
    5. Tense your whole body from your neck to your toes for 15 seconds, the release for 10 seconds;
    6. Tense EVERYTHING for 15 seconds and then release and enjoy the feeling of release for the rest of the four minutes you have left!

I hope it goes without saying that if you’re not sure about your health or even if you are, please check with your doctor before doing something physical. These are just simple ideas to help you get a grip when the world starts to feel too slippery.
Remember that the resistance needs you in one piece, body and mind!  So take care of yourself!

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