So, uh, how are you guys holding up?
Sorry I’ve dropped off the radar a bit. It’s been two weeks since the inauguration of Donald Trump and it’s been a little … overwhelming? … to say the least. At least on my end.
Jesus, it's not even 10 a.m. pic.twitter.com/zUNJf720kj
— StuffJournalistsLike (@JournalistsLike) February 2, 2017
Things have been crazy busy. But as a disclaimer: Please, please don’t think I’m bitterly complaining. I know I have it so much better than so many other people. I know that as a middle class white woman, I have an innate level of privilege. I’m beyond grateful to have a career I love. I wake up genuinely excited for work every day, and I’m very lucky that I get to do what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.
However, it seems silly to pretend life is all sunshine and daisies and to carry on because while I do know other people have it much worse than me, I do face my own battles. And lately? You guys know what it is. While I do love my job, sometimes, it wears me down a little. It’s been two straight weeks of non-stop iPhone push alerts. Two weeks of grabbing politically-charged stories off the wire minute after minute before turning around and coordinating protest coverage. Two weeks of scrolling through database photos of riots, bombings in Ukraine, detained refugees. Two weeks of listening to the president rip on both Chicago and the media, followed by the inevitable outpourings of “#FAKENEWS!!!” that show up in our Twitter mentions and Facebook comments. It’s been two weeks of quibbling about “alternative facts” vs. “falsehoods” vs. “claims” vs. “lies.”
This is the second time I’ve covered a presidential transition, and this one is much, much different than the last one.
And — again, please don’t think I’m here to bitch and moan — it is a little exhausting. And I know it’s not just exhausting to me and other journalists. Trust me, guys, I see your Facebook posts. I know I have incredibly left-leaning friends that have sore throats and cramped hands from screaming during protests and writing to representatives. I know I have conservative friends that voted for Trump, who — while happy to see the nomination of a conservative Supreme Court justice — aren’t too excited about this whole multi-billion dollar wall thing that seems to be happening.
And, it seems like both sides of my feed want nothing more than to see more kindness and tolerance all around.
So, I get it. Whether you’re a journalist, an activist, a public sector employee, or hey, just someone who misses seeing brunch and baby pictures on social media, I think we could all use a few tips on coping and de-stressing post-inauguration. Here are a few ways to do that.
Take care of yourself. First and foremost, you have to look after yourself. This isn’t negotiable. Get a full eight hours of sleep every night. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Stop shoving garbage in your face and eat a damn vegetable or two. It’s hard, I know. Oh trust me, I know. But you will look/ feel/ function so much better when you’re giving your body the right fuel. You can’t run on fumes and you can’t carry the weight of your responsibilities in those bags under your eyes.
— Upping The Anti (@uppingtheanti) January 30, 2017
Unplug. Turn your phone off and read a book. Do some yoga. Watch a documentary. Take a walk. Soak in a bubble bath. Go to a petting zoo. Think of something you love, and go do that — without your smartphone. Bonus points if it’s outdoors! Nature is cathartic. Look at it this way — news will happen within the span of two hours, regardless of whether you are looking at your phone. And, the odds are pretty strong that there is absolutely nothing you can do about whatever happens within that two-hour span. It’s probably out of your control. So, turn your phone off and take a small mental break. You can always tune back in later and pick up right where you left off.
"Do something everyday that scares you!"
*opens twitter app*
— sarah amy harvard (@amyharvard_) February 2, 2017
Socialize. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to friends, family members, coworkers. Go out and grab drinks. Grab a friend and start kickboxing lessons if you really want to blow off some steam. Don’t spend too much time alone.
if there is a journalist in your life buy that person a strong drink because it's only tuesday
— Dana Liebelson (@dliebelson) January 31, 2017
Give back. Do you know what’s really, really cool? So many refugee-focused organizations in Chicago have a waiting list for prospective volunteers. Proud of you, neighbors! But — other organizations are always looking for help. Channel your frustration, helplessness, anger, despair — and turn it into something good. Find a trustworthy, reputable organization and volunteer your time to work with a cause you’re passionate about. There’s nothing wrong with donating money, but there’s something to be said about donating your time and energy as well. You get to meet real people who directly benefit from the work you’re doing. You get to actually see how you are making an impact. And, you know what? That’s a really great feeling.
Get loud. As per my company’s ethics policy, I absolutely do not protest, lobby or make partisan cash contributions. If you’re a journalist, you probably don’t either. But, if you’re not? Call your senators, write your representatives, grab a poster board and go march! March for life, march for women’s rights — whatever your cause, get vocal about it. I have many friends who participated in the women’s march, and they said it was incredibly empowering and uplifting, and did so much to combat their general feelings of helplessness.
If you're looking for a silver lining, Trump's presidency has been pretty super for the poster board and marker industries, I guess. pic.twitter.com/8OB56g0Hx6
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 29, 2017
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, you have accept that things are beyond your control. And that’s perfectly OK. If you’ve walked until your feet hurt, forced a smile while out with your friends or haven’t been able to sleep no matter what, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”
— Sara Amato (@saamato) November 9, 2016