How are you coping with world events?
March 30, 2023 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Environmental collapse, war in Ukraine and intimidation by other big global actors, extreme wealth inequality, the incoming supplanting of human creative activities by AI & subsequent reforming of the workforce leaving loads of people up a creek, right wingery everywhere, violence in cities, etc. “Coping” in re 1) regarding anxiety around these and 2) actual planning for your life over the next 5, 10, 20 years.

For example, if you work in a highly ChatGPT exposed industry like accounting or publishing, are you thinking of a plan b. If you live in a low-altitude city near a coast, are you thinking of moving. And how are you responding to the totality of these threats at once.
posted by cotton dress sock to Human Relations (31 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Personally I think I’ve got another 5-10 years in the city and then I’m buying a remote country house and watching the world burn down.
posted by rhymedirective at 9:56 AM on March 30

I stopped following the news (largely through the internet/TikTok which is demoralizing in terms of my personal values but necessary), took to heart the advice on AskMe offered years ago by a user about building community while times are tough, took to heart the advice in Parable of the Sower which is a mix of “build community but be prepared.”

I recognize that I can’t do everything at once, but I’m setting up rain barrels and gardens and encouraging native species in my yard, I’m allowing my anxiety to lead me to action. I can’t do anything about my climate anxiety but I can install solar panels or have a staff of emergency food. I can be smart with my finances and learn to live in less and pay off debts- not because the financial systems will work at all for me in 20-30 years but because that skill is important. In the same vein, enjoying the moments where I can. Tomorrow is guaranteed so enjoy today.

Sorry if this seems a bit rambling but it has helped me through some difficult times since 2020 and helping me finally see the light now.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:58 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]

Being a prepper for the sake of community and others (though I don’t actually have any “prepper” stores) is one that really helped me. I think so many of these scary things are actually scary because we see the loss of humanity in people around us (people not acting in response to school shootings, not caring to change to help avert climate crisis, what would happen with a financial collapse) all of that is actually leading to “who are we if we don’t care about and help our neighbors. I know that all sounds really trite, but it’s true for me
posted by raccoon409 at 10:01 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I have accepted that I have no influence over world events, and if things truly get That Bad I’m probably screwed no matter what I do. YMMV.
posted by vanitas at 10:14 AM on March 30 [30 favorites]

I was thinking about The Lorax the other day. And realizing that it was written in the past. It was written in 1971! And we know that fiction like this is written about the present. When I read it as a child, it was this colorful world that had nothing to do with the world I lived in. It was a possible future. And yet it turns out that the world of the Oncelers was the world I was living in from the day I was born.

You know how when you critique someone's work you're supposed to sandwich it with positive things? E.g., you got this right, please work on this, you did great here. The internet doesn't do that. It does it the other way around. E.g., doom, good news, gloom.

Everything was already broken before we were born. The environment was already starting to collapse, there was war and intimidation by other big global actors, there was extreme wealth inequality, etc., loads of people up a creek, right wingery everywhere, violence in cities, etc. This was all already there.

Anyway, here's the Dalai Lama's approach:
One of the approaches that I personally find useful is to cultivate the thought: If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, you do not need to be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. Then it is clearly more sensible to spend your energy focussing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you cannot do anything about it anyway. In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be for you. This formula, of course, implies directly confronting the problem and taking a realistic view. Otherwise you will be unable to find out whether or not there is a resolution to the problem
posted by aniola at 10:21 AM on March 30 [25 favorites]

oh the anxiety around getting through the average day (work, house, family etc) consumes way too much of my mind for me to worry about the rest.

on a more serious level, it does actually help me focusing on taking care of things in my immediate environment rather than bug out about things mostly outside my control.
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 10:24 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I do what I can and try to relax about the other stuff I can’t change. I mask because I am high risk. (Which I think is the number one thing everyone should be doing to protect themselves and others.) We bought a home near family. We are frugal to afford repairs on our home and try to reduce buying new things, especially furniture. We too are planning landscaping that will reduce water and be good for the environment.

We are both already sterilized. We don’t have kids. I’m disabled and can’t go protest nor could I flee to another country. I’m not at all a survivalist. So we plan to just do our best to live our lives. We vote. We try to stay a bit informed but try not to doomscroll. That’s all we can control. Meditation and anxiety reduction helps.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m beyond pissed and scared. There is a void filled with flames that is screaming. But I can’t just sit here mad. It’s not helpful for my mental or physical health. I put energy into hobbies.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:24 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]

I find some solace in reading a lot of history. The news cycle constantly claims that everything is completely and always unprecedented, and we should be in constant anxiety because no one knows what's happening next. Except that history shows that pretty much everything has happened before, and is a good way to compare against what is happening now.

Sure, lots of people died in previous wars, pandemics, and industrialization. That's kind of comforting in its own way - billions of people, good or bad, have already died. We can try to learn from them, but there are tons of times people didn't. And death is clearly inevitable, no matter how much money you have.

If that's too bleak, there are lots of stories how a single person or small group of people made a huge difference and changed history. We can try to be that person too, and learn about what factors allowed them to become the person capable of that change.
posted by meowzilla at 10:33 AM on March 30 [12 favorites]

Not all of those things affect me in the here and now. Environmental collapse is a car crash in slow motion, the war in Ukraine is 1600 miles away, my city is not particularly violent, a basic safety net exists where I live, my job is not very likely to be replaced by AI before I get tired of it or retire...

That is not to say that these aren't all big scary problems. And indeed for most of us at least one thing (but not all the things) is a real and immediate problem. In my case it's political views that are too far right. So I do what I can to adapt and mitigate that problem and work towards solutions. And to other problems that are far away in time or space from me, I contribute what I can in ways that are sustainable for me.

And then, I go to work, I watch tv and listen to music, I enjoy my friends and family, I eat great food, enjoy the trees in my neighbourhood. I take please in the small every day things of my life because they are what matter, they are what I am fighting for.
posted by plonkee at 10:35 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]

oh the anxiety around getting through the average day (work, house, family etc) consumes way too much of my mind for me to worry about the rest.


I shut down my Twitter, don't follow politicians or anything on other media, don't really watch the news. I trust that if there's something going on I want to or need to know about, it will find me--I still talk to friends, stay involved in local stuff, and participate in like, the world. But I seriously do not need to know about every terrible thing that happened anywhere on Earth every 45 seconds. And you don't either.

Apart from that, for the whole, 10-20 years thing? Eh honestly I mostly just decided, some time back, not to bother trying to live terribly long? I don't take especially good care of myself and I'm not like, trying actively to prevent heart attacks or cancer or anything. There's no way I'll have the kind of resources to ever retire, or endure long-term healthcare needs, etc. I don't have kids--nobody's gonna miss me, nobody needs me to take care of them, and nobody is gonna be around to take care of me.

Now, to be clear: I do take enough care of myself to enjoy myself right now, which means I get a fair bit of exercise and don't entirely eat garbage, and I take care of immediate health problems so that I'm not immediately miserable. And I enjoy the heck out of myself. Right now, I have clean(ish) water, good food, a warm place to stay, a city full of stuff going on, and enough money to get by, and you better believe I make the most of all of 'em.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:38 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]

My grandparents survived the Japanese occupation and saw as 5 year olds their classmates being killed by air raids, and each member of my family has lived through some form of social upheaval every 20-30 years. Each of us have day to day duties to our loved ones and the worlds we can practice, and nihilism is the enemy of those who want to take action and change whatever they can in their part of the world. What is going on is a consequence of US imperialism collapsing into itself.

I'm doing the same as I ever did -- I'm building community, improving my habits and taking care of my mental and physical health. I'm a disabled queer trans person of color, and I'm sick of feeling like I should be pushed back into a corner just because of fascists and liberals.
posted by yueliang at 10:40 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]

With respect to a side-remark you made re: violence -- if you are in the US, then you may have fallen victim to media lies. Violent crime in the US is down massively. You may want to revisit where you get your general news and information from, because it appears to be misleading you rather badly.

With respect to your other questions: drugs can help with anxiety, having backup plans is usually a good idea as long as you don't spiral into madness with them (many preppers spiral into madness on this; "sole survivor bunker life" stuff is BS, you're gonna need a community.

If you have the time, you may want to investigate additional passports/residence permits. I'm allowed to stay in the US, I can return to Canada, I'm also allowed to live in India as long as I don't try to run for office, and I'm actively looking for a residence permit in Europe. It's time-consuming, but turns out to not be very expensive if you're lucky and careful. For example, one friend of mine is pursuing Ireland (they have rules about ancestors), while another one managed to get into Spain for similar reasons (ancient expulsion of Jewry), and practically every Indian-descent person I know has their OCI card "just in case".
posted by aramaic at 10:46 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I've found my inspiration in some weird places - the Q'uran, some hard-core Catholics, the cottagecore movement and my cat. Let me explain, and then tie that all together.

* There's a passage from the Q'uran that says that "if the End Times come when you have a sapling or the shoot of a plant in your hand, you should still plant it." Don't let the fact that the world is a shit-show stop you from doing the small things you were doing to create good; even if all they do is soften the blow for a couple other people, or the good thing you started is short-lived, that's still something.

* As for the hardcore Catholics: there's a group called the "Sedevacantists" who were so opposed to the church reforms brought about by the Pope in the 1960s that they decided that that pope, and any pope since then, isn't valid. But they're not freaking out about it - the word "Sedevacante" means "empty seat", which kind of sums up their attitude that "welp, there's no pope, and so we're on our own here and we have to take care of ourselves." So they just go about their business, and have stopped relying on the Vatican for anything. I realized I adopted a similar attitude when Trump took office - I knew that the Federal government wasn't going to help me and mine any more, so let's start seeing what we can do for ourselves. I am not going to be able to fix everything in the world, so let's focus on just my one little corner and strengthen that.

* The cottagecore movement can get all into the image of cozy twee domesticity - but if you think about it, how cool is it that the big trend people were celebrating for a while wasn't flashy new stuff, it was all about upcycling and DIY'ing and slower simpler stuff? Simple joys are still worthy of being embraced, and it's okay if all it takes for you to be happy is a favorite pair of socks and a cookie and a cup of tea. You go ahead and rock those socks.

* When I was flipping out in the first couple weeks in the aftermath of 9/11, the thing that always snapped me out of it was my cat, who would continue to be the annoying little shit he always was when it was getting close to his dinner. If I was stuck on the couch in a fugue state, he'd just get even louder and more obnoxious until I got off my butt and fed him. He kept me tethered to the Here and Now - and that gradually made it sink in that even though there was some hard-core disaster that had killed OTHER people, I was NOT one of those other people, and I had a responsibility to myself and to those who depended on me to keep myself going. And on top of that, I also had a responsibility to live on behalf of the people who did die.

So that's gradually got me around to my attitude - I am going to continue doing the small things I do and my focus will be local. I can't save the rain forest all on my own, but I can make an ecologically sound choice when it comes to what to plant in my community garden plot. A chat GPT may write the Great American Novel before I do, but I can still keep my blog going nevertheless, and I'm up to 100 followers now and one of them is this guy from Denmark who always comments on every post and that's not that shabby.

There's actually one more influence I have - the character of Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once. And I'll let him explain why:
When I choose to see the good side of things, I'm not being naive. It is strategic and necessary. It's how I've learned to survive through everything.

You tell me it's a cruel world and we're all running around in circles. I know that. I've been on this Earth just as many days as you. One thing I do know is that we have to be kind. Please. Be kind especially when we don't know what's going on.

I know you see yourself as a fighter. Well, I see myself as one too. This is how I fight.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:04 AM on March 30 [21 favorites]

I manage a library of consumer-focused online content in an industry that's facing seismic disruptions even without AI. My plan B is to incorporate LLMs into our process, thereby doubling+ production, which will initially benefit all because of the increased depth and breadth we can cover with the same resources, after which it will make me redundant for the same reason. I figure I've got 2 years to edit myself out of a job. I'm 50+ and I use the health insurance I buy through my employer. I don't have a plan C yet; I'm not sure there is one aside from living every moment fully and mindfully. It's a game changer.
posted by headnsouth at 11:11 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]

In the Talmud, it (supposedly - I’m not an expert) says “A person will be called to account on Judgment Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.”

I think about that a fair amount.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:27 AM on March 30 [12 favorites]

On one hand, I decided to run into the fire. I work in reproductive rights. After leaving the conservative South, I lived in NYC for 17 years. I had a great life with my partner there, friends, and career. But after Trump was elected, I realized that part of the problem was that progressives frequently leave those areas... which may be one reason things got so bad.

I had wanted to move South again to be closer to my mom, but instead of landing in one of the isolated blue bubbles... I moved back to my hometown (with the benefit of working remotely). My town and the surrounding counties voted over 80% for Trump in 2022. But I found my tribe here. I found the committed, passionate, brave folks who have been doing the work of turning things around. Instead of being existentially overwhelmed by things like the fall of Roe, I can see the regularly, with my own eyes, how the work I do helps people when they need it most. I am part of a movement that is growing stronger every day... and we are actually in the process of founding our own organization to further our work, specifically in this region. I can see the change, and that gives me hope.

On the other hand, the place I moved back to happens to be in one of the most climate change resistant areas of the country. By leaving NYC, my partner (now husband) and I were able to amass more money, and we've diversified those funds across several different investment streams. The reason he is now my husband is because he is a dual citizen of a European country, because if the white Christian Nationalists win... I'm probably going to have to skedaddle (literally, to not be jailed or worse).

So yeah... I fight like hell. But I also hedge my bets. Also, don't think that living in a blue state is going to keep you safe from right wing insanity. You gotta fight.
posted by kimdog at 11:42 AM on March 30 [20 favorites]

When I wonder how I'm going to handle global challenges I try to think of my parents. Now deceased.
They lived through the depression and WW2 in Europe as children. Through the flooding of the Netherlands, Cuba crisis, the oil crisis, their line of work (chemistry) moving away from Europe, acid rain, DDT, the contaminated Rhine etc.
Thankfully they didn't know what was ahead in upcoming decades. They dealt with it, like most people, a year at a time. The bad with the good.
So when for instance Covid just hit and I was wondering how I'd cope all alone I thought of them. "If they could live through that surely I can handle a global pandemic"
Similarly with the war in Ukraine. My generation hardly experienced war all our lives. Now it's our turn to be hardy and stoic and deal with it.
posted by jouke at 12:05 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I think I’ve been quite affected by everything since Covid. I’m only just really realising it as I read your question. I think the main thing is that I crave nature and peace and quiet a lot more than I used to. I’m also more and more attracted to rural life.
posted by iamsuper at 12:09 PM on March 30

I work in an industry (custom jewellery design & manufacture) that hit the "technology can do your job now, everyone panic" milestone about a decade ago with the advent of 3d scanning and 3d printing and easy to use CAD CAM programs, many of which have most of the parts of almost any ring you want pre-loaded into them.

And my industry has changed a lot in response! Which is pretty impressive because goldsmithing has been pretty consistent in process for as long as we have had historical records for jewellery existing (practically forever.) Now in the last few decades, technology came for us. It was mostly developed for dental and foisted upon us.

But it didn't kill custom jewellery design at all. In fact, it lowered the price of access a lot, and now almost anyone who is ring shopping can afford custom if they would like to. And sure, maybe you could just do it yourself, but wouldn't it still be NICER to have me, a professional, utilize the technology for you, to be sure that our final product works and is beautiful? Especially since it's really not that much more expensive? I've been training my eye and abilities for 20 years. I'll do a better job than you.

So, that's my thoughts on AI from the other side of a technological sea change in my job - I think it will become a tool, and it will change everyone's efficiency and processes, and it will change the industries, and it will be bumpy, but it's not going to be an apocalypse. (it will probably also make your job a little less fun because "checking the computer's work" is fundamentally less interesting than doing the work, but it's not horrible.)

For everything else, I try to keep in mind that we are in a strange time in the world of communication. Our giants of the industry have failed. The ones that remain have been taken over by strange interests. Most corporations' decisions are made by committee and committees aren't interested in ethics, they make decisions based on data - numbers. Eyes on your stuff. The way to get eyes on your stuff is to be dramatic. Headlines have always been ridiculous and now no one even bothers with the articles. We're all adrift in a sea of headlines, each trying to out-headline the rest. The regulatory committees and frameworks we had set up to make sure that the news you read isn't biased, overblown, or completely fabricated have failed to keep pace with technology and are now toothless and irrelevant. Someone's ability to write intelligently doesn't actually inform us that that person is a trustworthy source, because there are no more middlemen to gatekeep audiences from kooks.

It's the wild west out there, and you can't trust what you think you know anymore.
posted by euphoria066 at 12:16 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]

If it's really bad, I think about extremophiles. Humans can fuck up things real bad for a long time, but nothing kills those little bastards and life will keep on in ways I can't imagine.
posted by emjaybee at 12:49 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

The performer Jean Grae reposted this clip of Maya Angelou talking about fear the other day and I have been thinking about it since.
posted by doift at 1:04 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

I try to keep in mind that my generally pessimistic outlook isn't objective truth or a foolproof means of divining the future, and focus as much as I can on the (many) positives I'm fortunate enough to be blessed with.

(I love the idea of moving to a quiet little house in the country in theory, but in reality it's often the Canadian equivalent of MAGAland out there.)
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:26 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

For climate anxiety, the best antidote is action. Help advocate to build bike lanes in your community or shut down a coal plant, etc. Start contacting your elected officials and letting them know the environment is a priority for you. It's a systemic problem, but we all do have agency. This site is a good place to start.
posted by pinochiette at 1:43 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I moved my news sources into a group called "depressing," just to remind me not to look (doesn't work). quit most social media excepting my Mastodon instance, don't read any toots in all caps or from rags that shout and use hyped up language, got rid of my cable subscription, sold my car, paid off my debts, cut my expenses to the bone, and took Social Security as early as I could under the theory that they could get rid of it any time and I have put more into it than I'll ever get back. I'm probably not going to leave the US because it can get bad anywhere, though my brother moved to France, and I am learning French. I also donate to politicians and organizations that are doing the good work, though I can't afford much. I was involved in an weekly demonstration for some time but then the pandemic happened, and I'm high risk so I'm no longer in crowds of any sort.

I'm a fiction writer, and like most writers have never earned much from my published books, so I have made the decision that it doesn't matter what AI can do. Also, I am writing my memoir, which it definitely would suck at doing. However, it occurs to me that I could say some interesting things about AI in the fantasy universe where one of my series is set, so I'm starting to take notes.
posted by Peach at 1:53 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]

I don't normally bother with New Years resolutions, but a couple of years back I decided to try cutting out Breaking News. Whether online or TV or other, I just stopped giving it my attention, driven by the overall framing: "if I can't do anything about it, then I'm not going to waste my time on it."

And it worked.
It's still working.

The world-breaking stuff, I still find out about obviously (usually via word of mouth), but in general, so-called breaking news is taking up way less of my life, and I feel better/am better for it. I do still read reportage every now and then, but that's usually after the fact by a week or so, and is more about getting some analysis than the latest body count. What I'm not getting hung up on are things like the latest school shooting, the latest Ukraine war atrocity, the latest evil that (apologies for repeating myself) I Can Do Nothing About.

But what about the stuff I can do something about? What about some new tech like ChatGPT threatening my livelihood?

Well, for what it's worth, the best advice I've ever gotten in this regard is from my mom. When you realize that change is inevitable (and life is full of such moments), the best move is make the change yourself (whatever that may be) as opposed to sit around waiting for it to make you. This may mean making plans to move, or going back to school, or ... whatever is relevant.

Good luck. And don't forget to breathe every now and then.
posted by philip-random at 2:32 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

I recently saw the documentary, Kiss the Ground (trailer), which talks about soil conservation and the role of healthy soil in reducing atmospheric carbon. I've been composting my green waste for years, so that's OK, but this made me re-think my approach to weeds. This year, I've decided to let them grow. I'll cut them back, if they grow too tall, and Bermuda grass is still my sworn enemy. But a weedy patch is better for the planet than bare earth, so let it grow, I say.

It's not much. But it's something within my reach that I can do to help, so I'm doing it.
posted by SPrintF at 2:34 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone.

I forgot about the banks.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:22 PM on March 30

Organizing, exercise, art, community (and pets), therapy, analysis.

Organizing: I have gotten really into unions and joined a political organization of like minded people working toward shared political goals. I am a [small, but emotionally meaningful] part of reducing the problems and increasing the solutions.

Exercise: This is my main method of emotional regulation so I'm pretty disciplined about exercising 5 or 6 days a week.

Art: I read novels, watch interesting films, go to art galleries, play interesting video games, and basically spend time in creative work that either helps give meaning to life, or at least distracts me from it.

Community (and pets): Caring about people and feeling them care about me eases the burden and daily fear and reduces my tendency toward despair. Or at times just distracts me from it.

Therapy: I have a really skillful therapist who helps open up some of the deeper patterns I've established that leave me wallowing in hopelessness and move me toward action or peace instead.

Analysis: I value having a political analysis; a way of understanding the world, and that give me a sense of how we could actually reverse the suffering we are living through.
posted by latkes at 8:12 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

(White South Africans have a much deserved reputation for complaining so I'm a bit self conscious about what I'm about to write but it's not complaining, honestly!)

I was born in the early seventies so I lived through the end of Apartheid. I was lucky to have been born into a family of anti-apartheid activists so unlike my peers, I wasn't inside the Swart Gevaar circle of wagons (metaphor for the fear of the anger and revenge of black people).

I have an immense amount of privilege as a white person so I only experienced the violence of Apartheid peripherally, but I had before me every day the example of the people most affected, non white people living every day mostly with practical stoicism, wit, grace and humour, sometimes with rage, grief, alcoholism, violence or apathy.

In 94, people in my community were mostly either emigrating, or staying and waiting tensely for the other shoe to drop, and a minority were stoking the flames of fear and rage, stockpiling tinned food and bullets.

The election was a miracle. Calm, hopeful, excited, amazing.

The years since then have not lived up to the expectations of those hopes and we're once again at a time when white people (and anyone who can afford to, honestly) are emigrating.

I've been moving from GP to GP as each in turn closes up their practice and moves to the UK. My friends' children all expect to emigrate the moment they finish school.

(CW for mention of violence) The flight is rational. Every single person I know has been a survivor of violent crime. As in, armed home invasion (I experienced this myself), armed car hijacking including being bundled into a car boot and locked in (an elderly friend), kidnapping and being hunted through a field (two female friends), being bound while men smash their home with iron pipes (a friend with small children). I could go on.

This is the middle class community. The poor community, who is the vast majority, suffer far worse at the hands of the authorities and the gangs. I won't tell those stories as they aren't mine to tell.

Our electricity system is collapsing, and our sewage system as well. My city came a ghost of a hair within completely running out of water recently. I plan my driving routes to avoid the children from the nearby informal settlement who throw bricks at cars (honestly, who can blame them?)

We don't have access to paxlovid, Covid vaccines, or proper masks.

But I'm staying.

I have severe anxiety so I've had to learn to manage my fear of the unknown. Anxiety is hell. It means suffering through everything that might happen as well as everything that does happen.

I have learned to watch myself for catastrophising thoughts, and nip those in the bud by applying realism. I don't know what is going to happen, and I might experience pain, fear and grief, but I will cope. I am resilient, and when I fail, I can turn to another human, even a stranger, and they will help me. And I will do the same for others.

When anxiety rises, I check whether this is something in my control, in which case I make a practical plan to deal with it, or something out of my control, in which case I let it go.

Letting go of the illusion of control is FUCKING DIFFICULT and I have to do it over and over again even on the space of a few breaths but that's OK. I keep breathing.

Look after your small world. Realise that you have the capacity to reassure yourself in a realistic way. Pain and death and grief are unavoidable but that's OK, it's not your job to avoid them. Joy, silliness, love, friendship, those things are unavoidable too, even if they only happen in tiny, fleeting ways. It's not your job to cling to them and make them last.

You are not alone. You are resourceful and clever and have the capacity to help others. Figuring out how best to help (other people, other creatures, the natural world, the intellectual world of ideas) *that's* your job.
posted by Zumbador at 10:38 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]

1. Don't check the news daily but intentionally check in once a week just to know what's happening out there. Just reading the headlines for many articles is fine, but make a choice to dive into things only if they interest you or are important enough now, don't read awful news just to read it.

2. Get outside on nice days, connect with loved ones, etc. Focus on your life and what you control.

3. Remember that overall, things are getting better in the world. There are ups and downs and 1 step forward 2 steps back, but 200 years ago we had literal slavery in the US. 120 years ago child labor was a thing in the US and people worked 18 hours a day. 85 years ago millions of people lost their lives and limbs in battles in WWII. 50 years ago women had less rights than now. 20 years ago AIDS was scarier and gay people had less rights. Etc etc. Obviously wars are still terrifying and women, LGBTQ, POC, undocumented people, etc., are still not where they should be, but things *are* moving in the right direction.

4. Remember that there *are* people working on research and technology for global warming. There are good people out there.

5. Kittens. Look at things that make you smile, even if it's a silly distraction.
posted by at 6:52 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]

Being prepared for death! Being informed about the mental and physical progression of decline and death, and having plans that support choice and autonomy has been a MAHOOOOSIVE weight off my shoulders.

Another one is making as much unique creative content that I am literally the only fucker who can make as possible. That shit will outlast me. Some of it has even been beamed into space! It’s a big relief.
posted by The Last Sockpuppet at 11:47 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]

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