How To Practice Self Care While The World Is Ending

How To Practice Self Care While The World Is Ending

There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first.
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Floods in South Asia, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and nuclear war with North Korea looming in the distance, sometimes it feels like it’s the beginning of an apocalypse. Every week in America, it feels like a game show called, “Who Will This Administration Screw Over Today” and I’m the contestant biting my nails wondering, “what is happening?” Last month, it was transgender people, this month it’s immigrants. Scrolling through headlines, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of doom. Nazis are on the loose. The West Coast is on fire. You get the picture.

While that isn’t true, we aren’t all going to die, or at least we don’t entirely know that we are going to all die just yet, sensationalized news headlines tend to make me question that. I’ll spend maybe an hour or two (yes I have a problem,) scrolling through my Facebook feed, reading posts and getting into arguments in the comments section and I’ll realize, “Wow, I feel terrible right now and I’ve been feeling terrible this whole time.” I don’t know what to do or what I even can do and I feel guilty that the most I’m doing is posting memes about it all. I don’t even know what I can do.

However, there’s one thing that I’ve thought about and it’s that there isn’t really anything that I can do about most of the things that are going in with the world right now. If North Korea decided to drop nuclear weapons on us right now, there is absolutely nothing I could do to prevent it. If a giant hurricane destroyed all of Florida, I wouldn’t be able to do anything to stop it. And as far as the administration, I can’t change any decisions Trump makes because he literally doesn’t care about anyone, but himself and the most I can do is protest and protect the people I love. Everything else is out of my power. While that might make things a little bit scarier because I am powerless, it does remove a little of the guilt and pressure to do something about it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to stay off of social media as much as possible. I’ve been trying to monitor myself and keep my mental well being in check. If I feel too anxious or stressed or depressed by the conversations I’m having or the posts I’m reading, I distract myself. I find something else to do, whether it be creative or educational or positive. Whether it be reading a book or playing guitar or putting on makeup. I find something to calm myself down.

I think it’s important to be active politically and to pay attention, but if you’re like me and you get overwhelmed by everything that is going on, then you need to take time off from the world and pay attention to yourself. There is nothing selfish about making yourself a priority when your mental and physical well being might be at stake.

I understand some people feel that being able to take time away from political activism to practice self care is a sign of privilege and shouldn't be encourage and so on. I've seen this mostly in response to Tina Fey's video of her eating a sheet of cake asking people to stay out of anti fascist protests. While I disagree with encouraging everyone to not go out and protest, I think that it's fine to not engage if you are worried about the impact it will have on your mental health. Oh, and please don't pretend that people of color, and LGBT persons don't need to take time off of being politically engaged too.

So, next time you’re on Facebook or some other social media website and you can feel yourself growing frustrated or angry or anxious, disengage and stay off for a while. You are not a horrible person for caring about yourself. Find something you like that makes you happy and distract yourself with it, because even if the world does end, at least you gave yourself the time to feel better.

Cover Image Credit: Deviant Art

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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