People cannot take useful political action—whether organizing their communities, going to protests, or calling their representatives—if they are feeling burned out, overwhelmed, or paralyzed. When we take care of ourselves, we are investing in our ability to meaningfully resist injustice. L.V. Anderson, Slate
What’s the opposite of honeymoon period? Whereas there may not be a term to denote it, many of us are currently experiencing it, the opposite of what we wish we were enjoying or appreciating early in a U.S. presidency.
L.V. Anderson, the source of the above quote, refers readers to an article by attorney and feminist Mirah Curzer, Medium.com, who warns:
This is not going to be an easy four years. We’re going to be subjected to constant gaslighting by the President and his administration. We’ll be dealing with a ferocious, multi-front attack on the entire progressive agenda, without exception, and a lot of it is going to succeed. We’re going to helplessly watch institutions we care about and depend upon destroyed. The Trump years are going to be emotionally exhausting and deeply traumatic for all of us, but particularly to those dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and preserving democracy.
Despite the popular wish for impeachment-and-soon, many experts don’t believe this is likely. We may be in it for the long haul and lots of fights.
So, in the meantime, here are Curzer’s helpful suggestions for maintaining or achieving needed life balance. Explanations are either paraphrased by me or quoted:
- Don’t Get Used to Trump — Get Away From Him. Unplug for a while. Get back to things when you feel refreshed. Enjoy your usual activities. Avoid living “in a constant state of anxiety and anger…You will do more good if you make time for non-Trump conversations and non-political activities.”
- Focus Your Energy on One or Two Issues—Things you really care about the most. “There is a spectrum of support, and nobody can be everywhere at once.” Also, no matter how active you’ve been in the past, “YOU ARE HERE NOW AND THAT’S WHAT MATTERS”.
- Make Activism Fun—“You don’t have to suffer to make a difference.” Humor is still important. “As Saul Alinsky wrote in Rules for Radicals, protest and activism is supposed to be loads of fun for the protesters.” Make it easier by doing things one small step at a time. Do the things that “play to your strengths.”
- Take Care of the Basics—Self-care, in other words. This can include such things as therapy, sleeping well, taking care of your body, physical exercise, socializing, me-time, eating healthily, and enjoying nature—and whatever else turns you on.