Just the other day I was thinking about my anxiety level. “Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve felt nervous,” I thought to myself. I shared with my mom how great I had been feeling.
“That’s wonderful! Are you taking any medication?” she asked.
“No!” I replied, feeling accomplished with my healthy habits and natural stress-relieving skills.
Then, Inauguration Day came. Trump smiling on TV, angry social media posts flowing and dismal news reports speculating the fate of our nation made me think, “where is the Xanax when I need it?”
Although I’ve been able to maintain a relatively even keel for some time now, the ignorant political messaging, bigotry and utter hatred triggered my mood.
I’ve worked too hard at serenity to let politics interfere with my zen.
Instead of starting a Twitter war or self medicating, I stayed calm and indulged in two days of self-care this past weekend. My roommate and I ordered pizza, enjoyed girl talk and focused on happy things. I wore pajamas all day, snuggled with the cat and started Brené Brown’s book, I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t). In addition to self-care, a few other things helped me get out of my political agitation and back into a place of positivity.
Reading always gets me out of my own head. I’ve found a variety of grounding books that have helped me put life into perspective; from Eckhart Tolle to Gabrielle Bernstein. When I look at life from a higher, spiritual place, my mind is put at ease and my thoughts become much more peaceful. I have to remember that I am not in control of the universe, but I am in control of my thoughts.
I also began watching Matt Kahn videos on YouTube, who has a wonderful website called True Divine Nature. My favorite video discusses soul contracts, soul mates, twin flames and the most important- being your own best friend before you can truly connect with another soul. It’s definitely worth a watch!
As much as I wanted to march in Boston on Saturday, I knew it would trigger my anxiety. I’ve never done well in crowds, so instead I showed my support by sending my friends messages of encouragement. It’s been a little over two months since my last anxiety attack (yes, they’re real, and yes- they’re scary).
I always recommend stepping out of your comfort zone, but don’t put yourself into a situation that will make you feel worse, not better.
Limit the Social Media
My anxiety level went from zero to one hundred when I read a status calling Saturday’s marchers “oppressed, spoiled, and entitled.” I wanted to reach through the computer screen and shake some sense into this person (to put it nicely). Instead, it came out in a moderately condescending Facebook comment. Did I need to comment? Of course not. Did I do so peacefully? Yes, I believe I did.
The takeaway from my social media experience? Use it sparingly. Instead of filling my extra time with social media (an open invitation for an anxiety attack), I try to pick up a book, write down my thoughts in a journal or take action, bringing me to my final stress-relieving suggestion.
Whether it’s speaking up about violence, reproductive rights, women’s health, LGBT rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice or anything else that matters to you, now is your chance! You can print your own postcard to send to your senator and check out ideas for your message here.