Readers, we are being rocked with horrific happenings. Between this year’s natural disasters, the Las Vegas shooting, and the daily reminders of other horrible things, it’s difficult to remain positive and hopeful. There are ways, however, to combat stress and sadness, and I am here to share them with you. (Also, I want you to know that part of my self-care is writing this column and imagining you all read it and feel comforted—so thank you for reading and for taking care of ME.)
Remember: good things are happening, too.
People are falling in love, pets are being adopted, mountains are being climbed, hugs are being exchanged. Once I’ve heard about a tragedy, I take some moments to process, experience sadness, and send healing vibes. The next action I take is to flood my brain with the good things that are happening in the world. I avoid thinking of family or friends, because inevitably, a stress or worry will enter my thoughts due to familiarity. However, when I imagine strangers embracing or a little one stroking his dog’s fur or a woman crossing the finish line of a long trained-for race, it fills me with a certain lightness. Alongside the horrific events, truly glorious events are happening, too. Life is beautiful, in a very ugly, messy way.
I’ve said this in a previous column, but we must give our time and/or money to those struck by tragedy. This can be micro or macro giving. It can be handing a (non-crunchy) cereal bar to a homeless person or giving $25 of your paycheck to relief for Puerto Rico. Calling your legislators is also a way to take action. I realize this action might scare some more than others, so I’ve found a great resource to help guide and inspire you. The more you continuously give and take positive action, the better the world will be.
Watch or read something funny (or call up the go-to funny person in your life).
My friend Kelsey recently posted a picture of the Comedy Cellar in NYC to her Instagram with the caption “Therapy.” Laughter is healing. I am lucky in that I am surrounded by funny people. My stomach and face muscles tend to hurt after texting my brother Andy and exchanging gifs or sharing a meal with my friend Emily, the queen of TV quotes. Special shout-out to my new-ish boyfriend Michael, who I think I laugh with more than I speak with. There are tons of stand-up comedians on Netflix, YouTube, etc. Or maybe watching re-runs of “The Office” or “Parks and Rec” is your jam. Find your jokes. Take 20 minutes and laugh.
I would say “do random acts of kindness,” but I believe you should just be kind on a constant basis. If you don’t feel like being kind at certain times, that’s okay, but spend some time by yourself that day…and don’t be mean.
Fill your hardworking body up with whatever you’re craving. Lately I’ve wanted cheesy pasta, lime yogurt and the “Guacamole Greens” salad from sweetgreen, and so those are the foods I’ve been eating. I’ve also craved long walks, sappy shows like “This Is Us,” espresso, the smell of patchouli and weekly face masks. In between your action, your kindnesses, and your giving to others, give good stuff to yourself. Pause during a free moment and dig deep into that big brain full of worries and to-do lists and fears and ask yourself exactly what you want in that rare stretch of free time you have. Do it. Giving yourself what you want and need is love. And love is contagious.
To conclude, I’m leaving you with the wise words of Queen Mother audre lorde: “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Care for yourself, my warriors. Trust your gut.
Take (self) care,
Mary Adelle is a poet, a co-host on Give Me the Deets podcast, and the co-curator of Babe Press. She is passionate about taking care of herself and taking care of others. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.