You are not obligated to call out every single thing that pisses you off or that hurts your heart. You are not on duty 24/7 as the lone warrior for justice. There are so many of us out here doing the work alongside you. You do not have to respond to every shitty comment from every shitty leader and every shitty hate-voter who refuses to engage in critical thinking and real self-education. And this leads me to my next point… Limit Your Social Media Time
Last year, I realized I was wasting energy, bogged down in social media chatter instead of doing some of the vital work I needed to do to be a healthy person, a good friend, and an effective activist in my community. Like many other freelancers who primarily work from home, I had grown accustomed to using social media as my virtual water cooler — a place where I could communicate with other folks. The strategy backfired in 2016. I spent more time pissed off and exhausted than delighted and energized. Now I schedule time to use social media to share things I think are beautiful, intelligent, hopeful — and, yes, at times, things that upset and disturb me. I make jokes. I goof around. Sometimes I get serious. I engage here and there in political conversation.
Sleep is when our brains employ the night shift workers who replenish the chemicals we need to keep going in the daytime. You can’t fight if you can’t stay awake.
Seriously. Sleep. Get some rest. These are tough days and tougher nights when a person is plagued by stress-induced insomnia. Sleep is when our brains employ the night shift workers who replenish the chemicals we need to keep going in the daytime. You can’t fight if you can’t stay awake. Drink chamomile tea; learn some breathing exercises; listen to relaxation tapes you previously thought were too goofy for words. (They are, but they might also help you.) Get a sleep mask; put in earplugs; practice positive visualization. Do something super New Age-y or as old-fashioned as drinking warm milk. Don’t drink yourself to sleep or hit the pills to numb the pain, please. And if you find yourself doing that, please talk to a therapist, a doctor, or a pastoral counselor you trust and who can help you find healthier ways to deal with what’s keeping you up at night. This is not a moral judgment: I, too, have inadvertently hurt myself in an effort to help myself. But we need to stick around. And to do that, we need our health. Exercise
We have marches to go on, my friend! Whether we walk, roll, or ride, we’ve got to move. Let’s get in the practice of doing that when we’re not hoisting signs, okay? Remember that you are not just your thoughts and opinions: You have a body. Whatever you feel your limits are, there is probably something small you can do, even if you need some help to do it. So, within your ability, and with a doctor’s approval, get some physical exercise. Whether you know it or not, you are holding some of this national stress and pain, and you are holding it in your body. The list of stress-induced ailments is nearly endless, and the list of exercise-induced benefits is similarly amazing. I don’t care what you do so long as it’s safe and you have at least a tiny bit of fun doing it. Get out of your mind for a few moments a day and just move. Find Some Gratitude
Your life may feel awful. It may feel marvelous. It may be something deeply human that lives in between those two extremes. If you are suffering, I do not ask you to start throwing around pie in the sky platitudes. I do not presume to know the depth of your agony.
You are not on duty 24/7 as the lone warrior for justice. There are so many of us out here doing the work alongside you.
I know you love your country. I hope you love somebody, too. I don’t specifically mean a lover, spouse, or other romantic pal. I don’t specifically mean a friend. I don’t specifically mean a sibling or a child or a parent. I mean love somebody from any one of those categories or make up a new category. Adopt a pet and love it, truly and kindly. Get a houseplant and make its boring ass houseplant life the greatest life any houseplant has ever lived. Look after someone or something. Be gentle and kind and good with them. If you can’t find anybody on earth to love, love your god. Better yet — love somebody else’s god. Love something beyond this idea we call America, beyond your own political ideals. And of course, it goes without saying — but I’m going to say it anyway — that you must first love yourself. You are good. I believe in you. We can do this together. We the people are a team engaged in a street fight fueled by love. I see you. I stand with you. I am proud of you. Take good care. Sara Benincasa is an author, comedian and screenwriter currently adapting DC Trip as a film. She also publishes The Stories, a zine on Medium.