Ideas to sustain the self "These Times Of Trump"
June 17, 2017 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Are you finding yourself exhausted by the recent politics? If so, what are you doing to sustain yourself emotionally, physically, energy-wise, health-wise, and in any other "-wise" way during these times?

Please, this is NOT an invitation to discuss politics. I've had enough of that. I am not trying to influence anyone's political view point nor do I want someone to do that in this place.

This is a PERSONAL, NOT POLITICAL question.

What are you doing for yourself to maintain your energy, your outlook, your hope during this time of such violence in politics? I am asking for real, hands on ideas you are currently doing OR that you have thought of doing, to help yourself through this time.

AND, if you do not feel difficulties in this political time, then I am happy for you and ask you to just pass on this question and maybe not respond here. Thank you for your consideration.

Background: I am absolutely opposed to Trump and his personality and his political actions/agenda. But I only share that here as a background to my request for information. If you, in your response, wish to share if you are for or against Trump, please, feel free to. I don't want any attacks on politics here please, nor will you find any from me (here), although in other places, I uphold our right to "fight". Just not here and now in this post please?

That said, I am feeling so very overwhelmed by what feels to me as a *daily* onslaught. And "slaught" in that word seems appropriate, as there seems to be metaphorical bloody slaughter going on every day, from our president upon this person or that person, and as we in this country are violently opposing each other. It feels like people are (again, metaphorically) cutting each other's throats, going for the jugular, trying to "win" arguments both on TV, in social media, and person to person. (Although I say metaphorically, it actually was literally completed in the Washington shooter this week...)

I am feeling physically and emotionally run down, experiencing shock, feeling discouraged, saddened, disheartened, darkened, even fearful. I am having anxiety over my place here in American but also in the larger world as I worry what will happen to us now in the larger world?

I find myself more and more withdrawing from social outings, I avoid discussions of politics.

Please, compassionate and empathetic responses requested.

What are YOU experiencing and what are YOU doing to help yourself through this time?
posted by bananaskin to Law & Government (34 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a regular volunteering gig that I feel makes the world a better place (in a very tiny way, but it's enough for me) without being on the front lines of political activist battle. It puts me in regular contact with other women who are doing the same.

I have a dog who is very good at getting head pats.

I read a lot of uncomplicated, highly consumable fiction.

I spend a lot of time on nail care.
posted by phunniemee at 2:42 PM on June 17, 2017 [24 favorites]

I read, I game—a lot of tabletop RPGs, though they're nominally horror, I find them less depressing than one might suppose. My dog is a constant source of amusement, when he isn't a source of barking irritation. I sometimes look up random things on the Internet which have nothing whatever to do with politics; computer programming, disability issues, etc. :)
posted by Alensin at 2:52 PM on June 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have blocked all partisan Facebook groups that I regularly see on Facebook - especially the ones I agree with because they are the loudest right now. I turned off Twitter retweets for most people I follow; again, they all seem to retweet the same things anyway. If I see deplorable (and Deplorable) Twitter accounts, I report them. Some of them actually get suspended, too! I hide all the politics posts from the MeFi front page. I only talk about what's going on with a select few people.

It's not that my head is in the sand. I read the news. I call or fax my Congresscritters multiple times a week. I toss money to a rotating line of charities. I just don't need to hear 10,000 voices screaming that the world is burning down while I'm running with a bucket of water to do my part in helping put it out. I fear that all of the screaming and "repost-this" and "THREAD!" posting is going to make people give up on trying to enact change.

I take walks. I pet my dogs. I try to plant things. I'm becoming too fond of frozen yogurt places.
posted by kimberussell at 2:55 PM on June 17, 2017 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I'm in Canada, but feeling a lot of the same global anxiety and exhaustion. Lifting literal hard, heavy weights, and running, help. It kind of externalizes my internal state of mind, and I can pretend I'm physically preparing myself for disaster.

I found a lot of comfort in a letter-writing party a while ago, but I've struggled to put another one together since then. What sounds really good right now is in-person gatherings with the intention of generating joy and companionship (so, a guitar jam session or writing group or painting evening), and trying to think of ways to generate good will and inclusivity in my immediate neighbourhood.

Seeing homes with the "everyone is welcome" signs helps, and I've been putting up Fight Fascism stickers around town.
posted by lizifer at 2:55 PM on June 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I meditate using a guided meditation that specifically encourages me to look for the positive things in my life and the world around me. It's just a 15 minute thing, but sometimes I do it 2-3 times a day.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:07 PM on June 17, 2017

We've watched 6.5 seasons of the Gilmore Girls in the last few months. More movies too. I have trimmed my Twitter follows, and I've blocked literally hundreds of news sources on Facebook. I've settled on The Guardian as my primary news source,, and I try to read (online, I'm in the US) before I start seeing reactions to the news on Facebook and Twitter. There is no shortage of things you can do to stop focusing on the bad news.
posted by COD at 3:11 PM on June 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much so far. This is nourishing. Funny, I too found a nearby frozen yogurt store which (fortunately or unfortunately) provides me some endorphins.

I see a pattern of PETS in these threads. I too have found greater love and appreciation for my 2 cats, in cuddles, in our making "cat eyes" too each other to express affection, in playing with them as they wallow in catnip.

I also see a pattern of taking comfort in the "simpler" joys of life. Of small acts of happiness, of connection, of taking walks, of exercising, looking at signs of inclusivity in the neighborhood, of the simple joy of reading.

I wonder about the sadness? I feel very sad. It seems there is no place to take this sadness. No one in the media or even person to person seem to be talking about sadness. Anger, fear, yes. But Sadness?
Thank you.
posted by bananaskin at 3:18 PM on June 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I started a gratitude journal-- every night I write down three things about the day that I am grateful for. I feel a very strong need these days to consciously remind myself that there are still good things happening in my world. Sometimes it's something as small as the feel of having freshly washed hair.
I've started using a meditation app to help me get to sleep.
I play with my cat and pet her and appreciate that I've made a difference in her little furry life by adopting her.
I am sponsoring a low-income family by signing up to provide them with end-of-month groceries on a monthly basis.
I remind myself that it's ok to realize that I need to unplug from the news periodically. I remind myself that it's ok to feel sad during sad times such as these.
posted by bookmammal at 3:23 PM on June 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

I've found disengaging from all punditry, social media (as far as news is concerned), and editorial to be immensely helpful. It now takes me maybe 15 minutes a day to keep up with new developments via non-editorial reporting from reputable sources such as WaPo, NYT, WSJ, etc.

This has been a huge improvement over the hours I would spend during the election reading overwrought, anxiety-inducing, and ultimately uninformative commentary.
posted by Ndwright at 3:26 PM on June 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I hit the gym a LOT now. Also, every weekend I go do 3-5 mile hikes at state parks so that I'm physically removed from anything other than nature for a couple of hours. I'm not going to see a tabloid cover or catch TV snippets or obsessively check the latest Metafilter Politics Dumping Ground thread in the woods. I'll see birds and snakes and turtles and I'll think 'well they're just keepin on keepin on'. I try to do it early in the morning so that's the mindset I try to keep the rest of the day (that I'm posting at 5:30 pm on Saturday is noted, sorry) or as much of it as I can.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

When I read the first line of phunniemee's response, I thought I must have already responded and then blacked out or something. I have a 5-hour per week volunteer shift during which my phone is off and not on my person, and my focus is on making other people just a little more comfortable and peaceful and seen and heard at a time when they most need it. What a way to put things in perspective and step away from the shouting! Time for me to be off, my shift starts shortly <3
posted by janey47 at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Take all that energy and volunteer for charities.
posted by jpe at 4:04 PM on June 17, 2017

I feel sad, too. For a variety of reasons but the political situation is a huge chunk of it. Thanks for posting this AskMe, because I'm curious how folks manage as well.

While I'm not a yoga person, I'm moving a lot more these days. Usually daily walks, sometimes riding my bike, and often morning stretches and balance exercises.

Spending time outside helps me a lot. So does eating well (for me). Today I sat outside to eat my modest lunch but it was tasty (Trader Joe's Wild salmon with other stuff on top of a bed of arugula and chopped red bell pepper), nutritious and pretty. And I took out a nice napkin I like and didn't try to multitask but just watched birds and the sky and tried to be a little mindful as I ate.

I live in an apartment so I can't do any serious gardening but even just a little bit of gardening really feeds my soul. There's a public area nearby that doesn't get nearly the landscaping attention it needs. The grounds crew has invited me to weed whenever I like, and I'm going to take them up on that offer.

Listening to non-political podcasts has been helpful. Reading escapist fiction has been helpful. (Right now, I strongly recommend Sci-Fi lovers preorder The Punch Escrow by MetaFilter's own analogue.) Also helpful: Being realistic. I was reading something on the website and the idea of organising a postcard party (thanks for your service, OP!) was overwhelming to me. So was everything else listed. So I did what I could this week: I called both my senators and then I let it go. That's about all I can do right now.

In addition, I go to movies pretty often (because I'm a movie-theatre fan) and try to see people in person. I don't live in a block-party neighbourhood so I try to create my own little things. Sometimes I have a MF "snacks and sewing" meet up at my place. Sometimes one person comes; sometimes several. Either way, I always have a good time with fellow MeFites.

Another thing I try to do: Limit contact with people who are super draining emotionally. Even if I love them, and these are usually people I adore, I have to limit my exposure to these folks or I feel drained and exhausted afterward.

In short, I try to remember to do things that are both good for me and also enjoyable. Hot baths, funny media, good company. And I've gone back to seeing my old therapist periodically because the national situation seems to have made everything harder for me (and others), not just politics.

I still feel sad at times but taking care of myself ensures I get to feel other things as well. I went to see Get Out last night with a fellow MeFite, for example. When I showed up I was cranky from the heat and life in general. By the end of the film, I was energised because it was such a fun and timely movie. Good luck, OP!
posted by Bella Donna at 4:08 PM on June 17, 2017

Closed Facebook account. Exercise, sunshine. Lots of chores around the house. Math and science. Sailboat shopping. Cooking.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:08 PM on June 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I'm signing up for a taiko drumming class because I think it may help me get out of my head. So I'm trying new experiences, too.
posted by Bella Donna at 4:11 PM on June 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I follow national politics less than I used to since the election, but state and local news and politics a lot more. Things are not necessarily wonderful here, but there are some bright spots and at least I feel like I have a vote, even if I don't at the national level. Thank you for this question. I was trying to think of what else I've been doing since the election to deal but I couldn't think of much that was actually positive so now I have some suggestions to try :)
posted by eeek at 4:16 PM on June 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I started a gratitude box. Each day I write on a slip of paper the date and one single thing that made me happy or that was nifty or I am glad about that happened that day, then throw them in the box. I had no idea when I started doing this on Jan 1st how vital the practice would become for my mental health.
posted by mcbeth at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I spend a lot of time with my dog and as much time outside as possible, whether exercising or working in the yard or taking Winston to the woods. We like to sit on the beach, too. I see my therapist a little more often than I used to. I read a lot. Watch a lot of PBSKids, and a lot of old Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood episodes online; he's always been my hero. I also try to tell all of my friends how important they are and how much I appreciate them. I have found that I really try to take in all of the love and caring I feel when I am with my friends, and it's not something I have been as cognizant of doing in the past. I'm scared and sad and I feel mentally exhausted. Even though I'm an extrovert, I get weary of staying too long in situations with people I don't know very well or don't feel very comfortable with, although I like to be among people and just sort of fade into the background. I have also been taking myself to the movies and to local summer-league baseball games and eating a hot dog with some popcorn; just to kind of revisiting happier/simpler times in my mind.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 5:00 PM on June 17, 2017

Best answer: I've felt so sad and overwhelmed this year for several reasons, not least of all politics. I've been doing the following, which is really a rather long list when I think about it! These things have all helped.
  • Making and engaging with art—I've been drawing, taking photos, designing pins, collecting pins, going to museums and galleries.
  • Ordering myself small presents in the mail—I started doing this at a past job when I was feeling morose, and it really helped my motivation to show up if I knew I'd be getting a book or candy from abroad or some gadget or tiny art in the mail. This has worked so far this year, too, as I was already into collecting pins, and I expanded that a bit to other things again. I haven't always had the motivation to open them right away, but every so often I'll go through a bunch and enjoy that a lot.
  • Sending others presents—this kind of started with secret quonsar. I got several friends gifts this year as well. Then I kept up a number of rounds of exchanging gifts with friends for several months.
  • Following up on book, movie, and music recommendations—I bought stacks of new CDs, new books, etc. upon friends' recommendation, as well as just from looking around at the local record store, used bookstores, thrift stores, etc. I traded music with friends. I added tons of stuff to my Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other on-demand queues and started working through it.
  • Trying and photographing local food—this also started as an exercise of sharing photos and stories with friends and family as sort of a micro tourism exercise around the holidays, and then I kept it up. I don't share it on social media, but when I see friends and family, it's been nice to be able to Chromecast or thumb through photos on my phone and show them the cool stuff I've tried eating.
  • Singing—I've tried to record myself singing an average of a song a day this year. I'm a little behind where I wanted to be, but I've still recorded myself singing almost 130 songs thus far, and just practicing while walking and playing tennis has made my voice much smoother and stronger than it was 6 months ago. I've been busier than I'd have liked the past couple months, so I haven't kept up with posting a song a month to MeFi Music as I'd hoped (that takes a little more time, as I like to actually record some kind of accompaniment), but I've been practicing still, which is good in and of itself.
  • Walking and tennis—I've been making time most days to walk and explore my neighborhood (taking lots of photos!) or go to the nearby tennis courts and sing along with Pandora while hitting a ball against a wall for an hour or two. It's been good to focus on the world around me and on improving at an athletic hobby, and feeling physically stronger has been nice. You ask about how to deal with sadness or anger, and that's exactly how I've been dealing with it—singing my heart out to rock songs while hitting a ball or hiking up a hill as hard as I can.
  • Making playlists—with all the new music has come a lot of new material to work into playlists, and I've made a few already this year, as well as shared a lot of music with friends and colleagues per above.
  • Learning tarot—I've long been interested in fortune-telling, stichomancy, etc. I'm open-minded at best, superstitious at worst. But I never explored this before, as it always seemed too complex, and it's been a fun hobby so far. Even if you take a totally secular, humanist view of things, tarot is interesting for its storytelling possibilities alone. We're all looking for narratives that make sense of our lives, and the process of learning the cards' meanings and thinking through how they apply to my life has been a useful format for self-reflection. I know more than one friend who practices this, and it's also something you can do at parties, at events, as a way to establish a framework for fiction, etc.
  • Taking care of lingering health concerns—anything I'm worried about, I'm trying to take care of, so I don't have that concern. It's actually turned out to be a really good thing, as it led to my getting diagnosed with something I wouldn't have if I hadn't followed up.
  • Hammock time—making time in the afternoon to take a glass of wine and a book out to a hammock in green space in my yard and disconnect for an hour or two. I don't berate myself if I end up on my phone, but I try to absorb myself in other stuff at least for a little while.
  • Meetups and seeing friends—I've been trying to make myself go to a meetup, see friends, or go out with my husband an average of once a week, if not more. I work from home, so just getting out of the house has been a goal!
  • Therapy—as for some others, this has also been super useful for dealing with my feelings about the world right now and the fallout from that. I feel like a lot of people are really making some wild calls about things in their lives these days, resulting from their feelings and fears about the world, and it's been good to have my own space to talk that out and figure out how to deal with people who are handling it in what I would consider to be suboptimal ways.
  • MetaTalktail Hour—I've been trying to engage with the topic in these threads and treat it as a little writing exercise every weekend, and I've loved reading the replies and getting to know people on the site better. Not every topic is one that engages me, but I've been interested in most of them so far. The Saturday threads kind of help give my weeks a rhythm and a thing to look forward to as well.
  • Posting and chatting here more—except in politics threads. I've avoided every politics thread for a while now, and I turn it off in the sidebar on the front page as well, but I've thrown myself into answering AskMe questions and joining chat more too.
  • Throwing myself into work—doubling down on this, for me, has been cathartic when it seemed like all anyone outside that environment wanted to do was talk about politics. It probably helps that a lot of people I work with share my politics, but nonetheless, it's been positive for my career to direct that energy somewhere productive.
  • Traveling—I've been volunteering for more things that involve travel, making plans to visit friends out of state more, etc.
  • Making sure to make time to chat with friends—most of my friends live in other places these days, and making sure I check in with them, bounce stuff off of them, share photos and fun things with them, etc. has been important as I work through what's been happening this year.
I hope you find some ideas in this thread that work for you as well!
posted by limeonaire at 5:46 PM on June 17, 2017 [20 favorites]

Volunteering for local candidates and a local youth group. This area has become bizarrely religious over the past decade and it's because that's who does those things. I'm going to be a liberal, rational, athiest counter point. I'm a really valuable volunteer too due to some skills I have so I'm influential in this tiny pond. Go be influential and give people options.
posted by fshgrl at 5:54 PM on June 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

Some of these are directly related to counteracting the stress, sadness, panic, and worry of recent events, but some are also just things I needed to do anyway, and I'm finding it more imperative to really take care of them now so I don't end up a wreck.
  • I started biking to work - not every day, but enough that I'm getting some outside activity more often than not this way.
  • I'm going on nature walks as often as possible. Sometimes that might be only once a month, but spending a few hours in a forest is very good for my mental health.
  • I'm learning how to cook, and making sure to eat as many home-cooked meals as possible that are natural, colorful, healthy, and with relatively few but quality ingredients. I'm posting the plates to a non-primary instagram account, and even if I don't expect anyone to follow or care, it's good to keep me going in making things nice and presentable even when I'm cooking and eating for myself. Eating in a clean, natural way with good ingredients really helps me. I'm also eating more fruits like blueberries and apples. Immersing myself in cooking feels productive and good.
  • Kinda related to all of the above, but I'm working with a doctor to lower my blood pressure, which is troublesome and has been for years. Prescribed pills are helping in addition to lifestyle changes.
  • I stopped seeking out the news, reading news sites, etc. If something catches my attention during a day, I'll read about it, but for the most part I've cut myself off from the need to be one of the most informed and wired people among my friends. I'm finding that if something important happens, I hear about it in my social feeds or conversations. It's already going to pop up, so I'm no longer exposing myself to the minutiae every single day purposefully.
  • Not reading those politics megathreads. Hiding political posts here.
  • Committing to traveling outside the US more. Saving up to do so. Paying more attention to how Europeans in post-WW2 countries have lived and coped with their national tragedies.
  • Limiting my twitter and facebook usage dramatically,
  • Also forcing myself to think critically about every piece of information I come across there. Periodically asking "would this be reasonable if a similar sentiment was coming from a voice on the right?" It's very frequent that I find positions unjustifiable when I ask this question. I think a lot of people on social media are coming to have their political posturing tested, and rather than back down or introduce some subtlety and complexity into their thinking, they continue to inch further towards precipices. They might not even believe this stuff themselves. A recent example I'm seeing is voices on the left arguing that shooting congresspeople who have helped to enact harmful legislation is not de facto wrong, or that it's "less wrong", etc. I run my check "would this be reasonable if it's coming from the right?" and find it untenable as a worldview. In some cases I know these people are gentle and nonviolent and would never shoot anyone, so I think there are a lot of thoughts floating around right now that inch towards militancy without a full sincerity behind them - it's just in the water, more or less. It gets the faves and retweets and your group is reinforcing it, and everyone is angry, so it floats to the top of the feeds. I don't find this dynamic to be good at all for my stress and sadness, and I think it's fully possible to have radical or very progressive views without this extreme-uncompromising-positions-all-the-time mindset.
  • Similarly, avoiding doomsday and apocalypse-for-its-own-sake stuff. Avoiding the amplified voices that traffic in panic and conspiracy without the vetted and verifiable sources to back them up. Bringing myself back to a baseline of "what do we know is true" and tampering down "what must surely be true because everything is full-bore bad now".
  • Having an escape plan at least thought about. Not in an "I need to leave this country NOW" panicked mode, but just having thought through what my steps might be if things got bad enough that my country was no longer a tenable place to live in. It turns out I have a viable place outside the country to stay indefinitely, and this helps my mental health to not be in the red all the time. (I realize I'm lucky in this regard, and most people don't have anything like a clear-cut route to leave the country or wherewithal to do so. YMMV on this one. But checking could help. I didn't know my particular family ancestry entitled me to special emigration status in a country - only doing the research made me learn this.)
  • Generally realizing that life can and must continue, one way or the other, despite political events. Your work on this earth must keep going. Devote yourself to projects that are important. Keep up the drudgery and discipline required for them, even if they're not as attractive as being glued to a testimony hearing that everyone is convinced will bust this whole thing wide open (spoiler: it won't). If your work is creative, consider that while art and poetry etc. might not touch directly on our current crises, they are still incredibly valuable and needed for a million reasons. Resist the mindset that everything must be reactive to current politics. In some ways, you win by having a broader and more expansive palette for your thoughts and desires that is timeless and not hyperfocused on the current moment.

posted by naju at 7:25 PM on June 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: This is kind of a weird one, but I have found a deep relaxation and enjoyment in what I can only call "moral period detective stories." Usually with a murder, though they aren't gruesome, the murderer always faces justice at the end, condemnations and forgiveness happen where appropriate, and righteousness always prevails.

My two favorites that are on Netflix right now are "Father Brown's Mysteries" (tolerant, kind priest solves mysteries and helps people with the help of his small village contacts in post WWII England) and Poirot (Delightful Belgian detective in the 1930s solves mysteries with the classic "drawing room scene" "it was YOU!" at the end).
posted by corb at 7:34 PM on June 17, 2017 [11 favorites]

Also not on my list, but I'm finding Zelda: Breath of the Wild to be pure escapist catnip. Highly recommended if you play games or are considering starting to take the edge off things.
posted by naju at 7:35 PM on June 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also also (sorry), I know the temptation is very much there to drown oneself in alcohol, but cutting back has really really helped me. A (mostly) clean body and (mostly) clean mind are helping a lot.
posted by naju at 7:40 PM on June 17, 2017

Best answer: I've been buying really really lame women's magazines - like Redbook/Women's Day lame. It's nice to be taken into a world where wrinkled khakis are your worst problem. Then later in the day sometimes I'll think about those wrinkled khakis instead of real problems and it'll be a relief.

Also sometimes the recipes are interesting.
posted by Toddles at 7:48 PM on June 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

In addition to a number of the self-care things above (making time for soaking in the tub, getting the nails done, long walks with the dogs, cooking good food, sitting on the balcony reading paper books with absorbing plots in which good triumphs in the end, making and appreciating art) I've found that it really helps to limit political news to about half an hour or less per day.

When it comes to online stuff, I make a point of following and re-posting/tweeting sources that are not just ranting about the latest outrage but are actually doing something constructive about it or at least offering some kind of useful analysis.

Finally, I'm now very alert to negative people, influences, and situations, and I am weeding them out of my life. I'm not up for confrontation these days, but I am becoming very, very selective about where I put my time and energy. In particular, I have zero time for misogyny, and that has freed me from a number connections and obligations.
posted by rpfields at 8:48 PM on June 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you are a Facebook user and want to continue to use it, Social Fixer may be a handy plugin. It offers filters that block posts based on topic, so it will for example hide anything related to American politics that your friends post while continuing to show you their cute dog pictures or DIY projects in progress. I had to turn it on after rage was consuming me and it was astonishing how...normal and nice FB got again. It took a day to be like "this is weird" and then, become able to enjoy looking at people saying things about their bikes or birds they saw through the window or whatever. I eventually got to a point where I was less consumed by rage and flipped the filter back off because I felt like I was ready to cope, but it's reaaaaally nice to know it's there when I need it. Downside: doesn't work for mobile, just browser (but that just meant I cut way back on my FB usage since I avoided mobile).
posted by sldownard at 11:45 PM on June 17, 2017

Best answer: I've mentioned this elsewhere on MF already, but I'll say: I've been reading more. Not Kindle books, but actual paper books, either purchased second hand or from independent stores - no more Amazon, at least not for books. I haven't worried too much about the literary merit or otherwise of the books I've been reading, but I've found myself gravitating towards slightly heavier-weight books, which take longer to read. There is something very grounding about reading a physical book - the feel of the paper, the smell of it, the sensation of holding it.

I've been exercising more: yoga, gym, counting my steps on a FitBit and trying to get to 10,000 a day.

I've also been comfort-eating. Not healthy, and I wouldn't recommend it, but it helps me and you asked us to share what we had been doing.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:13 AM on June 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

It helps me a great deal to do things that make my little corner of the world a tiny bit better.

- I have a public bookcase in my front yard, similar to a Little Free Library, and participate in BookCrossing; people in my neighbourhood clearly use and appreciate the bookcase.
- I also plant flowers to make my house and yard look prettier. I guess we can all use some pretty things to look at. And watching things grow makes me feel better.
- I make stuff, simple crafty things, from leftover/waste materials and share my ideas. Who knows, they may inspire others. Making things can be super satisfying and using up resources instead of wasting them is good for the health of our planet.
- I give my time to help moderate a Linux forum. Helping to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere can make Gnu/Linux more accessible to newcomers. I believe that free open source software is a force for good in the world.

These are not new things but I find them extra-important at the moment. They have gained in meaning for me.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:30 AM on June 18, 2017

Best answer: I think of political action as self-care. Thanks to the good example of people like DogFoodSugar, I try to do one thing every day that Futurepomegranite will be glad she did, when she had the opportunity and means to do so. So like, I'll make one call to my state rep, or write one email to my Senator, or donate to one candidate of my choice, or register one voter, a day. I think of it like brushing my teeth or saving for retirement - not optional, just basic civic adulting. Taking action every day gives me a little peace now, and in the future.
posted by pomegranate at 10:06 AM on June 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Working my way through my list of organizing and decluttering projects while limiting my exposure to news and negative people has gone a long way to helping me feel more in control of life. I still feel sad and angry at times, but at least my apartment is becoming more organized!

I also agree with the suggestions to be as active as possible. Especially tasks that absorb me so much that I forget to worry. If you'd like specific ideas some of my "happy tasks" are gardening, cooking, hiking, crafts, reading, and photography. Oh! And watching the sunrise and sunset whenever possible fills me with peace and sort of resets my emotions by putting things into perspective.

Last but not least, I try to do something everyday that adds to the invisible "List of Good Things" in the world at work, out and about, or with friends and family. Volunteering as well as simple acts of kindness and civility like dropping off food for a friend who's sick or letting someone go ahead of me at the grocery store calm my sense of anxiety, frustration, and sadness with current events. Hang in there!
posted by scairdy chicken at 10:56 AM on June 18, 2017

Best answer: Hiking. Specifically, climbing mountains. Getting out in nature, as often and as deep as I can, really helps keep my perspective adjusted. It's so easy to feel like the troubles surrounding us are huge and everpresent, when really the whole story of human history is just a blip on a speck in an infinite sea of time and space. That doesn't make what is happening now unimportant, but putting it in its proper context makes it all much more bearable for me. You meet some really nice people on the trail, too—just really chill, mellow, pleasant folks.

The gift of the Mountain is the gift of perspective. It's the greatest therapy I've ever experienced.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:40 PM on June 18, 2017

I've been learning Spanish. After the election it felt like the right time to start. it was also something I personally could do and also something that I can feel progress being made on a regular basis. And it got me outside and meeting new people around my community, trying to find ways to practice and communicate. Finally, it got me to watch and listen to Spanish media, which reduced my time with English news about Trump.
posted by FJT at 10:32 PM on June 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, so much. I feel grateful to each one of you for the thoughtful and creative and compassionate answers.

This is OP, Bananaskin here. So now that I've had the wonderful experience of hearing from each of you, and experiencing myself feel relief and unity as I hear how this is affecting others, and to hear how creative and strong and really, like a family we really are here dealing with this, I want to share my own story of what I have been doing.

Part of my story is quite humorous, in a dark way, as it is strangely in a circular relationship with the current you may (or may not) see.

But for the first part, I am seeing how ART, in all it's forms, are key to getting through these times. So I am allowing myself to release energy and help myself resolve feelings and make growth spurts, in making art. I have always wanted to do my art, and this election made me see how quickly the world can turn on a dime. And it makes me want to attempt to do all those things I've put off because I feel "there's always time", and in my case, it is art of many different forms.

Then there's physical health. I am letting out the energy and stress through running. And I am practicing an alternative healing method called "tapping" or "EFT" and found it extremely healing and relaxing.

Next, I sense such a disregard and splitting of us in this country. I feel scared because I am now filtering behaviors of others as rude and selfish, and thinking it is coming down from the political environment. So now, as one of my efforts to counter, I go out of my way to be kind and courteous to strangers: For example, in traffic: letting people in the line in front of me, stopping and waving over a pedestrian trying to cross the street, waving in thanks to someone letting me in; and in non traffic environments: apologizing if I am curt or irritable, holding the door for the person behind me, saying thank you and please to the fast food server or etc.

And here's the last part, which I referred to in the beginning, which seem comical and ironic when you think over the aspects of it ----
----In my life, I have struggled with mild to moderate depression. It comes and goes. I have tried counseling, self help groups, books, anti depressants, nutrition, exercise ALL WHICH REALLY HELP. So as the November 2016 election was coming, slowly and surely, it was to become that proverbial pin that broke the camel's back....I felt another Big Depression coming on (the kind that makes daily functional living extremely hard). So I tried to get on anti depressants, and surprise surprise, the insurance for which I pay over $400 dollars a month for, does not cover it! I would have had to pay about $150 a month out of pocket for the meds. So I tried to muck it through, without antidepressants, until several weeks after the election I saw I needed I walked down to my local (California) doctor and got a Medical Marijuana card. (And yes, it works for my depression). So, here it is, the irony that I'm dealing with key issues from the election and brought on in my life BY the election: insurance and legalized MJ. Thank goodness I'm in California.

Well, take care everyone. I wish us all well.
posted by bananaskin at 5:50 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

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