At The Optimist Daily, we too can admit it’s been a tough, emotional time in America. As we collectively grieve and speak out against the racism and injustice around us, it’s important to also make sure we’re listening to our own bodies and pausing to take care of ourselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, the people over at MindBodyGreen have shared a few ways to cope with everything that’s going on. Perhaps it can give you some guidance.
Remember to eat, sleep, and move
“When you are in the thick of all the work, you may not realize and/or forget to take care of your body,” says trauma specialist and sex educator Jimanekia Eborn, M.S. “Setting alarms for yourself on your phone to drink water and eat can be really helpful. Some folks may laugh at that, but it can honestly be so helpful.” Also, don’t forget to prioritize getting enough sleep to make sure your body and soul have the time to recoup and recharge.
Honor your emotions
Don’t bottle them up. Whether it’s anger, sadness, fear, or exhaustion, know that you have every right to feel the way you feel. Carve out time for yourself to sit with and acknowledge the emotions that are coming up for you. It can help to talk with a trusted friend or therapist to air out and process what you’re feeling. Journaling about what’s coming up for you can also help you move through the feelings and stay grounded.
Turn anger into productive action
Use your emotions to fuel your actions. What tangible things can you do to help demand justice, fight racism, and support black people? When you’re contributing to the solutions, you’ll find empowerment and satisfaction. Ride those highs, and then keep giving. There’s always more work to be done. Here’s a good roundup of concrete ways to help from Cosmopolitan.
Come back to your health
Your breath is a powerful tool for grounding yourself and releasing anxiety. When you pause to breathe, you’re deactivating your brain’s fear centers and moving back to the calmer, more rational part of your brain. With just a few minutes of intentional breathing, you can bring your heart rate back down and ease your stress levels significantly.
Connect with people who get it
Make sure you’re spending time connecting with people who are going through the same feelings you’re going through, who are as alarmed and heartbroken as you, so you can love and lift each other up. Connecting with your people will remind you that you’re not alone in this and allow you to let your guard down and make space to grieve.
Take breaks from news consumption
You can always count on The Optimist Daily for positive news and solutions, but don’t keep yourself glued to the 24-hour news cycle. While staying informed is good, ruminating too much on bad news is not helping anyone.
Carve out time for yourself
Schedule time with yourself to be apart, and then take full advantage of it. This time should be about doing exactly what your body and soul need, whether that’s meditating, bingeing Hulu, making art, or simply taking a long, hot bath.