If you’ve been watching or reading the news (and who hasn’t been, riddle me that), you’re likely fluent in crises. You’re also likely horrified and exhausted and scared and sad. And, considering even Rachel Maddow broke down on-air last night, this is a completely reasonable way to feel. Hearing about “tender age” detention centres and watching the President’s former campaign manager “womp womp” over a mother and child being separated at the border aren’t normal things. They’re traumatizing. But the thing is, to keep going, you need to take five seconds to recharge so you don’t melt down. Self-care be damned, these are some tips for survival in the face of a constant onslaught of negative news.
Drink water, remember to breathe, feed yourself
Let’s start small. You’re not betraying anybody if you eat lunch. You’re no less strong if you make a point to drink water. To stay alive, you need to breathe. So think of this as the ultimate trifecta: if you do nothing else, remember that these things are vital. We need to eat, drink, and consume oxygen. And by doing so, you keep yourself in the game.
Talk about what you’re seeing/scared and/or angry about
The reason everything feels like it’s on fire is because everything is on fire. How can you not talk about it? And I don’t even necessarily mean with friends: a therapist is super helpful in helping to categorize your thoughts and fears and what-ifs. Especially if you tend to catastrophize (same), and need someone who doesn’t know you super-well to help keep your feet on the ground.
Tap out of the news for a minute
It’s not irresponsible to opt out of reading the news all day, every day. And honestly, you can’t read the news all day, every day. It’s impossible. You will collapse in on yourself and be left as nothing but a puddle of tears and anxiety. So hang out with friends. Go for a walk. Go to the movies. Watch a stupid show on TV for half an hour. Work on a thing you should be working on. Then go back. There’s a difference between being apathetic (not giving a shit) and unplugging for a brief moment to ensure you still 100% give a shit. You give many shits, that’s why you’re here.
Donate where you can, act how you can
If you’re feeling helpless, you don’t have to: there are immigrant, refugee, and asylum services you can donate to. Since we’re in Canada, you can call your own MPs and ask them to denounce the actions of the US and to request that the PM suspend the STC agreement. You can even annoy these MPs by speaking to them (or calling them or emailing them) every day because they work for us, and that’s how government works. And then you can talk to them about our own Indigenous foster crisis and how they and their government plan to solve it.
Maintain your boundaries
Because the world makes the least amount of sense, you’re likely going to come up against people who don’t feel the same way as you, and will inevitably make you want to rage-scream before combusting. But there is a point in a conversation where you have to decide, “Okay, no thank you” and casually maneuver whoever it is out of your life. It’s fine not to be friends with people who hold toxic, poisonous views. It’s okay to not associate with someone who can defend well, anything that’s happening right now. You’re an adult. You don’t need to be pals with everyone to be polite. Fuck politeness (for many reasons). If you work with the aforementioned, be professional. And that’s it. You do not owe anyone the energy you desperately need right now.
Now drink some water.