November 11, 2016

4 Ways to Practice Self Care


With absolutely zero sense of hyperbole, the election this week gutted me. I was not prepared for this, and I've had a hard time rationalizing what happened. The morning after the election, I started a private Facebook group where my friends and I could grieve together and eventually talk about what comes next. The page has since jumped the shark, but while it was still being used as intended, it was a great source of community and healing for me, and hopefully for the majority of the almost 1,400 people who ended up being on it. Well, except for that one girl who called me a Nazi. You can burn in hell, Melissa Jones!

Like many of us, this election, and particularly the last few months of it, sent me back into regular therapy. One thing my therapist has been helping me with is meaning. One day, she had me rapid-fire all the words that popped into my head. I said:

fear
impatience
stupidity
ignorance
racism
hate
rudeness
lies
brokenness
meanness
apathy
indignant

Then she had me go down the list and answer these questions:

1) Not a threat to me because ____
2) What is my meaning that comes from ____
3) I am not a child, so ____ (I have some control via exposure)

The idea is joy + meaning = contentedness. I had to start doing one (free) thing a day that brings me joy. And I had to read Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Prior to this appointment, I felt under attack. I felt like other drivers were trying to run me off the road, people we goading me online - in general, it felt like a monster was trying to eat me. When I started to look for meaning and started doing one joyful thing a day, plus reading that book (my god, you guys, read that book), I started to feel better.

She also told me to look at these perceived attacks as an invitation - an actual, literal, paper invitation that you get in the mail. And to decline that invitation. Say no to people's invitation to their (fill in the blank) party, e.g. rage, insecurity, racism, lies, etc. When someone says something inflammatory online, visualize them walking up to you and handing you an invitation. And then visualization yourself declining that invitation and walking away.

So now here we are, with a President-Elect that many of us didn't support, and many of us are threatened and triggered by. There will be a time for organizing and action, but I'm still grieving, and I think a lot of you are, too. I've had to be taught self-care, but because I'm an over-performing perfectionist, I'm real good at it. Here are some things that have helped me this week.

4 Ways to Practice Self Care

1) Comedy

A lot of comedians are being very poignant right now, with just the right amount of funny. It helps.

Watch:

Stephen Colbert night-of
Seth Meyers
Stephen Colbert night after
Samantha Bee
Iliza Schlesinger Confirmed Kills (not election related, it just made me laugh and took my mind off everything)

Listen:

Call Your Girlfriend, Episode 68, Rage Phase
Put Your Hands Together, election night episode

2) Crying

Just cry. Cry for no reason, cry for all the reasons, cry any time, cry anywhere. Watch old episodes of Sex and the City and cry about a simpler time. Might I recommend the episode in Season 4 when Miranda's mom dies and Carrie jumps in during the funeral procession and grabs Miranda's hand?

3) Face Mask and Chill

Last night, John had to go out, so I ordered a pizza, opened a box of wine, put a bendy straw in my glass and then kicked back on the couch with a sheet mask on my face. Ladies, you're going to need moisture after all that crying. Hydrate! This is my favorite sheet mask. It's $7 at Sephora, but there's all these $1 sheet masks at Walgreens, too. I got you, ladies on a budget.

4) OG Communication

I'm talking phone calls and showing up at people's houses. I would rather get my teeth cleaned than talk on the phone, but a friend called me last night after her husband and kids went to bed and we talked for an hour and a half. Call your people! I also had a friend take her fury out via baked goods and casseroles and then she invited all angry, hungry people to come over and eat in fellowship.

--

Ladies, a handful of men I'm not mad at, friends:

This has been a hard week. You're allowed a grieving period. And you're allowed to still be in it. Take the weekend. Buy a sheet mask. Buy a box of wine, don't forget the bendy straws! And let yourself grieve. But soon, maybe Monday, maybe a week from now, we've got work to do.

P.S. I wrote about what it's like to be a woman in politics.

P.P.S. Did this election trigger your body shame? This may help.

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