This morning I read two online news articles about people spreading Nazi propaganda. I’ve seen multiple comments on Facebook that drive home the reminder that this country’s government wants to take away my rights for being a woman, for being gay, for being an immigrant. I’m scared to check some of my favorite websites, because I know they’ll probably just bring me more bad news.
People have talked for a long time about how the increase in social media use gives us, as a society, more exposure to current events — in both a good and a bad way.
Good, because it allows us to be more socially conscious and better informed, giving us an awareness of what’s happening in the whole world with just one click. Bad, because dealing with a constant tirade of bad news is a strain on anyone’s mental health.
But recently, these effects have been multiplied a hundred times over. Literally — Donald Trump has already signed more executive orders than Barack Obama did in his entire first year as president.
And the decisions he’s made are shocking, frequently going against the basic human rights of minority groups.
So it’s no surprise that people are overwhelmed by the amount of terrible news we’re forced to wade through on a daily basis just to see what memes our friends are posting.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for us to remember that politics is just one aspect of life. It’s great to stay informed, but we shouldn’t give Donald Trump — or any other politician — the satisfaction of taking over everything we do.
When the weather is good, one of my favorite places is the porch swings outside 30th Street Station — they’re a great place to sit and listen to music and people-watch. I also love going to formalwear stores to try on expensive dresses I’ll never be able to afford. Or, if I don’t feel like leaving the house, I can completely lose track of time by drawing or cross-stitching. If I’m feeling nice, I’ll clean the kitchen and bathroom for my roommates.
These are just some examples of things I like to do to give myself time away from newsfeeds, article links and the impending threat of disaster. However, everyone has their own distraction.
A lot of people find exercise really helpful for occupying their minds, but really it should be about whatever works for you — anything from taking care of a foster cat to entering hot dog eating competitions.
In fact, I’d say that right now is the best possible time to take up a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Even though it might seem like the worst time, since our minds are already in so many places at once and we’re busy planning for possible disasters, it’s actually the best time to do something for yourself and take time to enjoy life while so many people are trying to make life more difficult.
If you really don’t have any ideas about what to do for self care, try texting a friend and offering to treat them to dinner, enforcing a ‘no politics’ rule on the conversation.
Maybe talking to them will offer up some more ideas, and, if not, at least you’ll have a fun night and you’ll feel good about yourself, having done something nice with your friend.