Staying Active In 2017
A lot has happened lately.
I don't just mean work and family-wise (though that is certainly true); I mean that I have never experienced a time when so many headlines have vied for my attention. As soon as one appears, is digested and dissected, another has already broken and made fresh waves of its own.
Though this week has been one where I just aimed to keep things together – rather than try to add more to my to-do list – I am so eager to get back to exploring ways to stay active, during this insane political climate.
If you, too, would like some ideas for maintaining momentum this year, then these words are for you.
Keep telling your representatives how you feel
My local MP's response was frustrating. My valid points were dismissed and to add insult to injury, the letter was address to "Mr Anna ____", when my gender would have been clear, as my blog was linked in my original email. Although I was angered by his answer, I am determined to write back and keep sharing my dissent during this political times. If we don't tell our representatives what matters to us, they can continue to act without proof they are representing our views.
So I'm writing back, and I am ready for his reply.
Explore views that make you uncomfortable
I love Jessica Stanley's Read. Look. Think. series and her latest roundup did not disappoint... Reading this piece on what a Republican strategist thought was wrong in the left's approach to Trump was honestly upsetting... while this Ted talk on having political conversations was another piece that had me questioning my beliefs on how to protest. I've said it before but I will say it again; we serve no one when we listen only to our own echo chambers. Although it can be disquieting to explore the opinions of our critics, it is also hugely important.
Find people who want to act too
I am so looking forward to the upcoming #InspiredBy gathering, in part because I hope to meet other people who feel driven to protest the current climate. This project was the brainchild of Han and I feel so lucky to have been asked to help represent the event on social media. As I am pretty much the only angry liberal snowflake I know, I hope it will be a chance to find more people who want to get active and dream of ways to improve the world. I cannot wait to hopefully meet some of you there - if you are free next Sunday, do come along!
I'm also excited about our monthly #popcornresistance chats on Twitter. On the surface, it's me live tweeting a film with anyone who wants to join in, but like #hpsonofawitch I hope it's a fun way to chat and connect with people who need some cheering up in a post-Obama world. (We're hitting play on About Time this evening!)
Look after yourself, even when you feel like you don't want to.
Meditation, yoga, journalling, taking a bath - all can feel inconvenient, futile, even vacuous, when you feel really low. Doing them anyway has led to the biggest upswings in my mood. Tell people you're struggling. Pretending to be chipper always makes us feel worse, and on and offline friends will only want to help. Dropping the facade and being honest about what I am feeling when sharing online has also been really helpful.
...and try to avoid spiralling.
We don't know what's coming. Don't let your brain fool you into thinking you do. Re-living and reinventing worst case scenarios will help no one, least of all yourself.
What are you doing to stay active in 2017? I am really lucky that my comment sections are always really insightful and helpful, so you are welcome to come and share your thoughts below. In the meantime, please, please look after yourself and I hope I will get to meet some of you next Sunday!