Does anybody else feel like they’ve got an emotional hangover? This presidential election has been like none that I can recall. The constant bombardment of negativity from our news media and social media has left me feeling completely drained, almost to the point of numbness. I’ve sat watching the news and reading posts on social media with tears streaming down my face – tears of deep sorrow as I realize just how divided our country has become. When did it become acceptable to be so mean and nasty? The vitriol that has been spewed for the past 18 months is almost palpable – it has seeped into our psyches and our souls.
And now the election is over, our country has been divided further into winners and losers. How do we put ourselves and our country back together again? It seems almost impossible that we’ll ever unite again and yet we must move forward and begin to heal. I really don’t have any idea how our country’s leaders are going to repair the damage that has been done, but I do know that each of us must take responsibility for ourselves. Even those on the winning side have suffered emotionally – friendships have ended and relationships with family members have become strained if not torn apart.
It’s as if we’re all on the same plane that is taking a nose dive – we must put on our own oxygen masks first. We can’t begin to help our country heal if we don’t take care of ourselves and our own emotional wounds. For many women (and some men), this seems selfish. We’re taught from an early age to tend to everyone else’s needs first. But now is the time to be self-full, to fill our own emotional tanks first. We can’t help those around us if we don’t have anything left to give.
So how do we go about doing that? We still have obligations, work, taking care of family – both 2 legged and 4 pawed, we have a ‘to do’ list a mile long for goodness sake – AND we’ve got to get ready for the holidays that are rapidly approaching! It’s not like most of us can just take off for a week long spa retreat. All of this is true, but we can make ourselves a priority – if only for a short time each day.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that there are things that bring me joy and help soothe my soul and there are things that zap my energy and leave me feeling overwhelmed and anxious. The first step is to focus on those things that bring us a sense of peace and avoid those that cause anxiety and leave us feeling ‘icky’!
Take a few minutes to make two lists – the first list ‘things that leave me feeling depleted’ and the second list, ‘things that fill me up’. Everyone’s lists will be different, but here are a few things on my two lists to help you get started.
Things That Leave Me Feeling Depleted
• Watching the News – I became a bit of a news junkie over the past 18 months and need to detox!
• Spending Hours on Social Media – nothing depletes me more than wasting time reading the rants and raves on FB
• Eating Junk Food – and for me that includes anything with sugar or grains, my brain tells me that I crave ‘comfort food’ like mac n cheese, but in reality it just makes me feel awful
• Drinking Too Much – I’m not much of a drinker, but over the past few months I’ve had more than I’d like and it’s left me feeling sluggish
• Being Around Negative People/Gossiping/Complaining
Things That Fill Me Up
• Taking a Walk with Hope and Daisy
• Creating Art – JUST FOR FUN. As someone who makes their living by creating things, it’s sometimes hard for me to just create for fun! I ordered some gift bags for holiday goodies and I’m excited about hand-stamping them with metallic designs. I also love making collages with pix from old magazines and incorporating drawings with colored pencils and pastels. I like to play Andrea Boccelli music really loud and just paint what I ‘feel’ – might sound a bit crazy, but give it a try. Put on your favorite music, something that really speaks to your soul, turn up the volume and go for it! It doesn’t matter what you paint, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, the point is to get in touch with that place deep inside that feels unbridled joy … like a little kid with their first box of crayons!
• Cooking Delicious and Healthy Food – try a new recipe, experiment with all the fabulous root vegetables that are available this time of year. My favorite root veggie is parsnips – I love cutting them up like french fries, tossing in melted coconut oil with garlic powder and truffle salt and then roasting in a hot oven – delish!
• Watching My Favorite Romantic Comedies – nothing puts a smile in my heart like watching When Harry Met Sally
• Taking a Long Soak in the Tub with Epsom Salts and Lavendar Oil – complete with scented candles and my favorite jazz music.
• Organizing My Home and Studio While Listening to Frank Sinatra – dancing to the music as I de-clutter and clean!
• Making Plans with Girlfriends Who Lift Me Up!
I hope and pray that we can all begin to heal the emotional wounds that have been inflicted during this unprecedented presidential election. Republican or Democrat, we all want the same things – we want to feel loved and valued, we want our voices to be heard, we want to be able to take care of our families and we want a peaceful world. It really does begin with each of us, regardless of who is sitting in the White House. We must first find peace within ourselves, we must love ourselves and we must take care of ourselves – and then we can begin to radiate pawsitive vibes to help heal our world!