This is a really bold topic, I know. But before you go any further I want you to know this is not a post intended to sway you one way or another. During the last election I watched a lot of news and talked a lot about politics. And I just kept getting confused, upset, sad, but never happy. As a person who is trying to life a “fit” life (and remember this extends to your mental fitness as well), it doesn’t make sense for me to continuously engage in activities that don’t make me happy. Yes, I know I need to be informed. Yes, I do vote. But there are ways to be informed and there are ways to make yourself go absolutely nuts. What I want to share with you is how I found ways to be educated, still remain friends with people, and not go crazy.
Ditch opinionated platforms.
I spent a lot of time on Facebook during the election (and of course there is the whole ordeal they have going on) and I read a lot of people’s opinions. Some that surprised me, some that I agreed with, but mostly ones that got me really riled up regardless of who they were talking about. I realized that the more I was looking at Facebook (Twitter to me is the same depending on who you follow of course but that’s not my platform of choice), the more stressed, fearful, and angry I felt. I had to take a step back and think “Is listening to all this chatter really going to be good for me to figure out who to vote for or to become more educated?” The answer, for me at least, was no. It was just causing me to be angrier, confused, and pitted me against people who I liked. Yes, I did unfriend very radical people on both sides, but they were mostly acquaintances I did not really know but ended up being on my Facebook from years ago, not people I knew and was close to. This is also a good time to maybe clean up your followers/those you follow. I realized that I didn’t want just anyone to see my life on social media, so I got rid of people I did not feel close to any more. I promise you, they probably won’t miss you either (but not because you’re not awesome, just because our web sometimes just gets a little stretched over the years).
Read it, don’t watch it.
This has been a big one for me. I don’t know what it is about watching the news but it really puts me on edge. I have no idea how people can watch it all day every day. To me, especially the national news, tends to be constantly negative. Local news occasionally talks about a good deed or a puppy saved every now and then. I am an anxious person by nature and watching the news really gave me a lot of anxiety. My husband is big on watching it but I would either distract myself with something else or go watch one of my shows in another room. He was super considerate after I shared this with him and got most of his information from SiriusXM radio instead of watching it (he is the best!). Now I know you are going to argue with me and say that I still need to be informed! And I agree! I chose to read my news using various sources but one of the ones that kept me informed and was also entertaining was theSkimm. It kept me up to date with way more that what was going on in the political world and was often just a place for me to start my research. It really helped me stay up to date, make an informed decision, and not feel on edge all the time.
Sometimes you feel really small in this big world, but you can and do make a difference.
Regardless of whatever the political outcome is, it can leave you feeling helpless. It can make you feel like your vote does not matter or even make you feel like nothing you can do will really make an impact anywhere. Well, you are wrong. You make a difference every day. In your life. In your pet’s life. In your family’s life. In your work life. Find ways to make an impact in your community. Maybe you should volunteer for a good cause. I joined the Junior League of Charlotte and it has really helped me see that I can make a difference and I am loving that our focus this year is on school readiness. Charlotte public schools really struggle but I know that I make a difference and my organization makes a difference by volunteering and helping this oh so worthy cause. Find a shelter and go walk the dogs. Sign up for Meals on Wheels. Find something that makes you feel good and dive into that. Politics will be politics but your impact by giving back will not only fill you with a sense of purpose and joy but will inspire others and maybe show both parties that it really isn’t so bad.
I share these with you because it’s so easy to get lost in this political jungle. Opinions are thrown around, people are fighting through screens, and friendships/relationships are being destroyed by it. Don’t fall prey to the negativity and try to find a way to brighten the lives of others around you and remind people (and yourself) that people are good and that it’s really going to be all right.
How do you handle political season? Remember, this is a safe space but not a forum for debate! I want to be positive and share how we can all make this world a better place no matter what your political opinion may be.