1. Just unplug
Easier said than done, it may seem, but absolutely necessary. It's okay to walk away from your Facebook feed, from your Twitter stream, from reposting on Instagram, and from replying to texts, phone calls, and emails. The constant intake of news can be too much to process and you need to give yourself appropriate boundaries to preserve your sanity, stress level, and help you feel fit to engage meaningfully. It may seem like unplugging looks like you don't care, but it sends a very different message--that you care enough to give your best support on social media. Your friends and family seeing you intentionally take breaks is going to empower them to do the same. We should always think before we share, research before we pass on news, and fact check before we spread information, and all of that requires more energy than most of us have when we're feeling emotionally compromised already. Make some simple rules, such as no screens during meals, no screens a couple hours before bed, and at no screens for a quick walk around the block. Restoring balance to our lives and giving our brains and hearts a rest is going to help us stay focused on spreading the right information and supporting our community.
2. Take a luxurious bath or shower
Nothing calms me down quite like a soak in my tub, even though it's small and cramped. The feeling of being surrounded by warm water, even in less than spa-like circumstances, works some kind of magic on my weary body. Water is soothing and cleansing, both metaphorically and literally. Why not take twenty minutes to wash the day away and pamper your senses? If you have a tub, add a handful of Epsom salts, a few drops of essential oil, some lemon peel, a cup of instant oats, or even a capful of shampoo to make it feel more calming. Bring in your favorite paperback and spend some time reading, lounging, and detoxifying your body? If you don't have a tub, light some candles or incense in your bathroom, turn down the lights, and sit on the floor of your shower. Take deep breaths as the spray washes over you. Lie down if you feel like it. Even just soaking your feet in a bowl of warm water with bath salts while watching TV is going to feel like delicious self-care.
3. Eat your feelings
Stress eating, emotional eating--who cares, as long as you're doing it mindfully. Make a meal into a ritual of self-care, starting with a nice walk or drive or home-delivery order of groceries. Take time selecting the ingredients, treat yourself with one or two items of higher quality than usual, and set aside a couple of hours to cook. Even if you're just making something simple like chicken soup, the act of getting up to stir, add a pinch more salt, or take a taste is keeping your body moving. It's putting love and attention into something external that will nourish you. As you cook, think about the cycle of care in the ingredients--herbs grown from the earth, minerals from the soil, pure water, and so on. Invite friends over and feed them, sharing of the act of love you've created in your kitchen. If you don't have the time or energy to cook, do what you can to make easy meals nice. Use a real plate and fork, pour your drink in a glass, sit down and be thoughtful about how you're nourishing yourself. If the weather is nice, go outside and get some fresh air while you eat. Whatever you do, make sure it's done with love and focus on healing yourself.
4. Immerse yourself in something beautiful
Go to your local library and check out some art books, comic books, graphic novels, photography books, or travel books. Go home and put on your comfiest pajamas, make a cup of your favorite beverage, and sit down to lose yourself in the pages. Really look at every image, drink in the story, marvel at the talent of creation. Take some notes on what inspires you--is it the way light plays off tree leaves? Or the way Batwoman's cape looks silhouetted against a building? Dig into the art and focus on what speaks to you, how it makes you feel, and why. Taking your mind off the garbage fire of the world to immerse yourself in natural or created beauty is a silent, simple protest. You don't have to watch tragic, hate-filled media, you can step away and relish in the small pleasures of a book. Review your notes of what inspired you and try creating something on your own. It doesn't have to be perfect, just spend time playing. Cut up old magazines to make a collage, or write a story based on a photograph, or raid your closet to put together a new outfit based on something you've seen.
Be good to yourselves.