How To Not Lose Your Sanity AND Still Give A Crap About What's Happening In The World
Let me cut right to the chase. Unless you’ve been holed up in a cave somewhere, you KNOW what’s going on out there. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s INTENSE.
If you’re someone who feels all the feels, or even some of the feels, there have undoubtedly been moments or maybe days, when you just wanted to hide in bed with the covers over your head and forget about all the turmoil that is currently unfolding. You think, “Maybe I’ll just stay here for awhile and when I emerge, the nightmare will be over.” It’s just too painful, too confusing, too overwhelming, too scary to deal with.
I don’t blame you. I’ve had several of those moments too. Giving a crap is downright exhausting, soul bruising, spirit wrenching, body aching, mind racing, emotion writhing work. But for me, and maybe for you too, NOT giving a crap is just not an option. This is for so many reasons but mostly, it’s because I’m just not built that way.
I was built to give a crap when people are suffering. When injustices are running rampant. I was built to give a crap when lies are being told. When legitimate concerns are being dismissed. When pain is being inflicted.
I was built to give a crap about what’s happening in the world beyond my own front door, beyond the boundaries of my family, my gender, my philosophy, my skin colour, my community, my city or my country.
Assumedly, if you’re still reading this, you were built to give a crap too. We just can’t help it. It’s who we are.
I’ve had messages, conversations and seen many a social media post about ‘staying positive’ and not focusing on the ‘bad stuff’ and I SO get why people take that stance. Focusing on the positive means your heart is in the right place and I believe wholeheartedly that the world needs as much positive as it can get right now.
We’re all connected. That's not just some woo-woo fairy magic, it’s quantum mechanics. For reals. So, spreading the light and the positivity is essential. I have deep gratitude for those who choose to do so in these tumultuous times. I make a conscious effort to send light and love and heaps of good juju out into the world, and I know it makes a difference on some level.
I’m also fully aware that choosing not to pay attention to the ‘bad stuff’, doesn’t mean bad stuff isn’t happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we marinate in it, I’m just saying that it’s possible to be both outraged and positive at the same time. I’m a, head in the clouds, heart wide open, feet (usually) firmly planted on the ground, kind of girl. Therefore in my yin and yang world view, positivity and acknowledgement of ‘bad stuff’ are not mutually exclusive.
So, how can we keep the chaos from overwhelming us? How can we avoid drowning in fear and negativity? How can we preserve our sanity, show up for our daily lives AND stay informed, make a difference, still give a crap about what’s going on in the world? How can we save ourselves AND not turn our back on our fellow humans who legit need us?
How does one stay positive, engaged, sane AND still give a crap?
Here are a few suggestions that might help…
- Kick your self care up a notch. If you’re one of those, ‘Self-care? What’s that?’ types, now is the time to find out! The world doesn’t need martyrs. The world needs us all to be on our game and if you bleed yourself dry from giving and never recuperating, you’re a hindrance not a help. Just sayin. So do what you need to do to take good care of your whole self. Feed your body and soul. Do it, then do it some more.
- Take Breaks. There is a limit to how much negativity one can take in. If we constantly submerge ourselves in it, we get desensitized and when we’re desensitized, we don’t feel and when we don’t feel, we don’t care or we see atrocities as ‘normal’. Not good. Not good at all. So don’t be that person who has CNN constantly playing as background noise (it’s not music people!). Take a break from social media. Spend time engaging with other things that are unrelated to current events.
- Seek out good news. If you must get your fix. Google, ‘Good news stories’. Visit a site like Upworthy or Good News Network and absorb some happy. This will help you see that it’s not all bad. Despite how things may currently appear, life goes on. It has, it must, and it will. Recognize that there are many more decent, kind people in the world than there are evil tyrants. What the mainstream media feeds us in not the whole picture.
- Laugh a little! Humour is good medicine. It’s even been known to help people heal. Watch a funny movie, go see a comedy show, ask people to tell you their best jokes. Listen, I know it can seem trite and uncaring to be laughing when there is so much that’s far from funny going on. But sometimes, we HAVE to see the humour in things. You refraining from laughter is not going to make the world a better place. It’s not going to fix anything. It’s just going to make you feel worse than you already do. So allow yourself to laugh. It’s good for you and you know… we’re all connected.
- Practice Gratitude. This is a go-to remedy for me in so many ways. Right now, stop what you’re doing and list three things you're grateful for. What is it about those things that make you feel good? Now focus on those good feelings for awhile. It’s good to acknowledge what we’re grateful for. If we go around always feeling ungrateful, why would the universe give us more or better? If someone dismisses the gifts you’ve given them, does it make you want to give them more next time? Didn’t think so. Also, focusing on the gratitude is another way for us to recognize that it’s not all bad. Even in the most trying times, we can find something to be grateful for in the moment.
- Keep living your life! I admittedly have a love/hate relationship with routine. However, daily routine can help us to feel safe, secure, productive and grounded. Who doesn’t need more of that right now?! So, keep doing what you do. Keep working, keep driving the kids to practice, keep having Friday night pizza dates, keep going to your weekly yoga class, knitting like a mofo, working on the boat engine, walking the dog, whatever it is you do that’s part of your routine, keep doing it! There is comfort in those rituals.
- Take Action. That stuff scrolling down your news feed that makes your heart break, your jaw clench or smoke come out your ears? Use that as a catalyst. Just sitting and internalizing that energy is Bad News Bears. SO unhealthy. Instead, choose one small action you can take that will help in some way. Make a donation, pick up the phone, sign a petition, go to a march, send well wishes, show your support in whatever way makes sense to you. But DO something besides marinating in the ickiness of it all. Directing those feelings into positive action, will help release them. It will help the cause and help you feel less powerless. Win/win. Just remember – you are not solely responsible for fixing everything. If everyone does their small part, that all adds up to a giant pile of helpful, positive action.
- Lastly, and most importantly - Be gentle with yourself and others. These are very shaky, vulnerable, nerve wracking times we are living in. It’s hard enough to be human on the best of days. So, cut yourself some slack. Be your own BFF. Allow yourself to feel the feels and allow others to do the same. None of us is perfect. Mistakes happen, tempers flare, we may not always see eye to eye. That’s Perfectly o.k. Strive to understand the perspective of others who may not deal with things in the same way you do. Despite current appearances, we truly are all in this together.
Ground your choices in compassion for yourself and for others, and you can’t go wrong.
Hang in there brave souls!