Self-care when your country has democratically elected a brutal despot

I honestly never thought this would happen. I'm in shock. I'm grieving.

Here is the only advice I can offer today. This is as much to me as to you.

Take care of yourself

The number one thing to do today is to be gentle and kind with yourself and show yourself care. This is really important when you are grieving, because it can be so easy to overlook, and because it can seem like it doesn't matter. But it does. Neglecting or failing to care for yourself can only make things worse. We need you right now.

Eat right. Do light exercise. Get some sleep tonight. Care for your family with gentleness and love. If you need to go into "survival mode," these are the things to prioritize.

Don't panic

Panicked decisions are rarely good decisions. Don't pull all your money from the market; let's try to Warren Buffett this shit. Don't quit your job today, or pull your kids from school, or sell your house, or leave your wife.

That's not say that we can't or shouldn't change anything in our lives, that it must be "business as usual" from here on out. Major trauma - from global events to more personal ones, like the death of a family member or a serious diagnosis - can make us take stock of our lives and put things in perspective. Maybe we realize that we are wasting time and energy on unsustainable endeavors, like a bad job or relationship. Maybe we realize the time to kiss Trevor is now!

If this makes you realize that you need to make big changes in your life, you should make them! But don't hurriedly throw it all together today. Take your time to figure out how to make these changes effectively, strategically, and kindly.

Don't become a prepper

In the run-up to the election, there have been a lot of doomsaying thinkpieces about how a Trump presidency would mean the end of America, the world, etc. Please realize that these fearmongering pieces had the agenda of trying to affect the election, and try not to put too much stock in them now.

Look, I'm not here to tell you that everything will be sunshine and rainbows, or that it doesn't matter who the president is. It does, and this is undeniably shitty. This is going to bad for our country and the world in ways and degrees we can't predict yet. And it's the vagueness of our terror that makes it so terrifying.

But nonspecific terror is exactly the emotion that this campaign fed on in order to win. It's what Fox News practices and curates in our elderly to control them. It is not good for us to be nonspecifically terrified. Apocalyptic presentiment causes us to make bad decisions for ourselves and each other. Look at doomsday preppers or Rapture believers. They are disincentivized from investing emotionally in the world, and as a result, they fuck things up. Let's not be like that.

Love defiantly

It's easy to fall into "dark side" emotions at a time like this: fear, anger, hate. That's why I think it's so important to be loving right now, and it's also why I have the impulse to weaponize those emotions: Love defiantly. Deliver an onslaught of care. Practice radical gentleness.

Despair is so tempting right now. And it can lead us to neglect the things we are supposed to steward: ourselves, each other, our land, our work, people who need our support. But it is the last time in the world to be neglecting those things. We cannot count on support from our government, so it's up to us. Now is the time to show your world extra love and care.

If you are having trouble even caring for yourself, please revert to item #1: take care of yourself. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

But if you have enough energy to have impotent rage, try to channel it into some defiant love for whoever or whatever is under your care right now. Just blast that shit with tenderness.

That's all I got. Let's take care of each other out there.


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