May you live in interesting times.
~ Traditional Chinese curse
As we near the end of this horrible, terrible, not-very-good week I find myself having more and more conversations with friends and clients whose mental health took a nosedive on Tuesday.
They are angry, or anxious, or depressed, or grieving, or bewildered, or all of the above.
One client sent me an email describing these feelings, asking, “Should I worry? Or is this the new normal?”
I answered, “I don’t know what the new normal is. But if Facebook is any barometer, you’re not alone.”
That fact has actually helped me more than anything else. Yes, I spend way too much time on Facebook. But this week it really helped me to hear how many people were upset by this clusterfuck of an election. And it helped me to go there and gnash my teeth in public. Misery doth love company.
But I’m also a therapist, and Monday starts a new interesting week, and I expect to be faced with a good deal more misery to come.
Hence this short guide to surviving whatever the hell comes next.
1. Don’t eat garbage.
Garbage means whatever makes you sick. Sick means angry, anxious, depressed or hopeless. Listen to your feelings, and go in the direction they point. Change the channel. Avoid Fox. Avoid Facebook, or at least block anyone whose postings dismay you. Move to another seat, away from the bigmouth who’s gloating. That’s not rudeness, it’s self-defense. Feed yourself good stuff instead. Good food, good music, good friends. Spend time with like-minded people, those who feel the way you do. Even better, take a vacation from politics. (They’ll still be there when you return.) Walk in the woods or on a beach. (Alongside the majesty of nature, politics shrivel in significance.) Drink wine. Drink hot cocoa. Watch Frank Capra movies. Read good books, ones that expand your mind and soul. Or trashy novels that provide delicious escape. Bake cookies and eat them with cold milk. And if you have grandkids, play with them more (which is just what I’m doing right after I finish writing this).