Being a political editor in this current political climate might seem thrilling – and while every day is – the news rush can also become quite draining. I am constantly flooded with hateful (and sometimes incoherent) tweets, disturbing, new policies, and a slew of social actions that scrolling through my social media newsfeeds can become a simultaneously panicky and mind-numbing activity. How can I (and you) resist burnout and stay sane amidst the overload of unsettling information? By giving our minds a detox.
Who says detoxing is just for the body? With all the troubling developments continuing to unravel in this chaotic era, our brains need a break. If we want to thrive as productive activists, we need to pause, check in with ourselves, let go for a moment, and then come back to kicking butt feeling refreshed. Checking out is not only okay, it’s vital for our mental health when everyday news can leave you feeling outraged.
When surrounded by anger and volatile energy, we need to give our minds a chance to breathe. Finding our center, a sense of peace and clarity, and regaining that calming strength is not only nourishing for our mental health but can actually aid us in the fight against hate.
“Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect,” Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh told HuffPost. “Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity, and understanding you have within.”
By practicing mindfulness, we are preparing ourselves to battle against bigotry with an open heart and non-violent attitude – something our society desperately needs right now. Essentially, meditation gives us the tools to find peace within ourselves so we can approach our daily encounters with serenity and awareness.
Make sure to take ten minutes out of your day to sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Focusing on a mantra or your breath will help to slow you down and clear your mind of the current political tone and the heinous effects spurring from it.
Between CNN updates on your phone, your friends’ Facebook posts, and even the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s” monologue, the current political unrest has seeped into every facet of our culture. So set a time to plug out and become disconnected from the whirlwind of political activity that disrupts our everyday life. Whether the weekend, a day, or even just the few hours before bed, turn off your devices and chill out with some mindless activity. Maybe it’s petting your dog, walking around your favorite mall, or relishing in your guilty pleasure reality TV. Anything that makes you feel good and distract from the times is sure to work.
When the thoughts of various bans and talks of the border wall is driving you through the roof, one of the best pieces of advice is to get out of your head and move your body. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps keep your mind sharp and alert.
Exercise helps to strengthen your memory and learning skills and also improves your mood and sleep, thereby decreasing anxiety.
It can even go as far as to help your mind process and handle negative thoughts and emotions (something that seems to occur on a consistent basis in today’s political climate). A study published in the journal Cognition and Emotion in 2016 interviewed 80 subjects, half of whom ran for 30 minutes while the others stretched. Both groups watched a clip from a sad film afterward, and the runners were better able to recover from their emotions after watching the segment.
While turning off the television at home and going for a hike can clear your mind of the political frenzy, what our brains really crave is sleep. To function normally, we need to rest and let our brains reset. And in these abnormal times, relinquishing on the eight hours just isn’t a risk our mental health can afford.
Self-care is imperative to be effective for the #Resistance and ridding your mind of the daily toxins the political noise machine is hurling at you is the only way we as a society can stay engaged without losing our sanity.
How do you detox your mind and spirit during these turbulent times?
Related: 6 Simple Ways to do a Mental Detox
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