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When I started listening to NPR a few years ago, I never thought there would be a day where I just had to turn it off because I couldn’t bear to hear one more horrible thing about what’s happening in our country. I never thought I would go on Facebook and Twitter and be so overwhelmed by news that I would have to hold back tears because it felt like a mountain of animosity was sitting on my shoulders.
But today was that day. I nearly flung my phone away from me at lunch with despair. It was only after listening to Beyoncé and Les Mis really loudly in my earbuds at work and not allowing myself to look at the news that I felt better.
I was alarmed by the crushing despair and anxiety that hit me today. I suffer from depression, so the feeling itself wasn’t new. But the energy and enthusiasm and drive I had felt since the Women’s March evaporated almost immediately, only to be replaced with hopelessness. It was such a drastic emotional shift that I really struggled to get back to normal.
This is when all those self-care tweets you’ve been seeing actually start to make sense. You see people saying to take time for yourself, log out of social media, take a bath, watch a movie. But how can you when the Trump administration does something insane every half hour? Trust me: you can. You need to.
The only way we’ll be ready to secure the House and Senate for Democrats in 2018 is if we have the energy to support Democratic candidates for those offices in the run up to elections. The only way we get the current president out of office in 2020 is by having the strength the come together as a party and elect a qualified candidate. And, let’s be real, the only way we can continue to even watch the news over the next four years and protest and rally and fight for America is if we have the energy.
You only have energy if you take care of yourself. Don’t look at social media for an hour before you go to bed. Read a book. A YA book. Re-read Harry Potter. Watch comedies that have nothing to do with politics. Don’t check your phone during the movie. Binge cooking shows. Eat cookies while watching baking shows. Exercise. Eat more cookies.
Whatever you want to do to rest and recover, don’t feel guilty about it. Listen to yourself. Now, when you’re fighting for the freedoms and rights of all Americans and feel like the world rests on your shoulders, let the weight off a little and do something for yourself that feels good. I promise you’ll feel better.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to go read.