How to stay sane when the world is ending

Nuclear war. Gun violence. The war on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. The war on women in general. With all the terrible things happening in our country in the last month, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed and defeated. If you feel like the world is crashing down around your head, here are a few things to help boost your spirits and keep you sane.

1. Give back

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Nothing puts you in a positive mood like doing good deeds. It’s a way to witness actual positive change right before your eyes, plus you get all the warm fuzzy feelings of knowing you made it happen! Many non-profit organizations can’t function without volunteers and every little bit helps.

Volunteer Match is a great website to find volunteer opportunities near you.

2. Reconnect with friends and family

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pulled out of the deepest, darkest pits of despair by a phone call from a loved one. Even if they just called to chat, knowing someone cares enough to reach out can mean all the difference. And you don’t have to wait for someone to get in touch with you. Think how nice it’ll feel knowing you were that lifeline reaching out to someone else in their moment of stress.

3. Spend time in nature

When you don’t think you can stand one more terrible Trump tweet or over-stimulating news story, it’s time to unplug. Put down that smart phone, turn off that TV, and go outside. If you live somewhere near a hiking trail, put on your sneakers and head into the woods. If you live in the city, sit in your back yard or on a front porch for a few minutes. Being in nature will help the stress and anxiety melt away. Remind yourself of the beautiful world we’re fighting for!

4. Call your representatives

Remember, you’re not helpless to create change. We still live in a democracy and that means your voice matters. For a lot of people, making phone calls is the scariest thing in the world, especially if you have anxiety like I do. Still, when the ACA was in danger of repeal, I called my representatives. Afterwards I felt so empowered. It might be nerve-wracking, but it’s worth it.

To find out the name of your representatives and how to reach them, check out Call Your Rep.

5. Take a deep breath and meditate

Never underestimate the power of peace and quiet, and meditation is an excellent way to take a mental vacation. According to healthline.com, “Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts,” and it’s scientifically proven to benefit your mental health in all kinds of ways. By focusing your thoughts, you can momentarily pacify all those worries and fears bubbling away in your brain. Give yourself a break, and you can return to the resistance refreshed!

Learn more about the practices and benefits of mediation here.

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