Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Friday is the contentious Inauguration Day, and Saturday is the day of the Women’s March on Washington (and basically every other city in the United States). It’s going to be rough and you’re going to need ways to get through this inherently politicized week.
For women, people of marginalized identities, low-income families, immigrants, and anyone with a conscience, this week leading up to major changes in our country’s leadership is likely to be fraught with anxiety, remorse, and utter terror. Or just really bad social media fights when what you really want to do is post #SaltBae memes. This week is basically the calendar date version of the part of a roller coaster where you’re chugging slowly up a vertical incline, stomach churning in anticipation of the drop that awaits you on the other side.
It’s so important to take care of yourself this week, and here are some ideas for best doing that.
1 Make time to watch your all-time favorite movie
It’s likely not the ‘high art’ that you’re made to believe you’re engaging in by watching VVestworld. It’s probably something more like Bring it On or Anchorman, but you will feel so great after seeing your old pals on the screen and something is so comforting about knowing exactly what will happen— and maybe even what the characters will say.
2 Cook something
Science has proven that doing a small creative act each day has majorly calming effects. It feels so good to be able to nourish yourself, even by heating up a frozen meal and adding some random spices to it! Cooking also requires mindfulness, so if meditation isn’t your thing, you can still get those life-changing benefits that everyone keeps talking about.
3 Give yourself a break from social media and the news
If what’s happening in the world is stressing you out too much, you have every right to disengage. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by not only reading the stressful news stories but also everyone’s opinions about it! Taking a couple hours out of your day to avoid the relentless online debates that you might normally participate in could help you remain calm during this stressful time.
4 Gather your feminist friends or plan a Skype session
Talking to your BFFs who want to dismantle the patriarchy just as badly as you do is SO vital right now. If you’re feeling stressed out, chances are that they are too, and commiserating with each other will make you feel less alone. Rather than shutting off the world completely at this time, (no matter how nice that sounds) remind yourself of the people who you know are out there fighting the good fight. Revel in that.
5 Move your body, even just a little
Are you familiar with the Cat-Cow yoga pose? It involves curving your back up like a cat and then stretching it out flat… Like a cow! It’s incredibly simple and is said to calm the mind and relieve stress. Shaking your booty a little bit is also an effective way to get some tension out of your body. Whatever your method, have fun with it.
6 Try a DIY face mask
You deserve some extra TLC this week, and that doesn’t have to mean spending money on a pricey sheet mask! Try an easy avocado DIY mask or Kendall Jenner’s 2-ingredient face mask. Your skin will feel amazing and you won’t even have to get out of sweatpants. (Feel free to combine with number 4 for the ultimate R&R sesh.)
7 Drink water
Dehydration exacerbates stress, fatigue, and mood swings. Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference, and making sure to drink lots of water can help bring you back to the present and make you feel better.
8 Make a playlist of the ~chillest~ music
No judgement if it’s only of Justin Bieber’s acoustic renditions. Making this playlist will likely be a lot of fun and it will serve you for the rest of the week as you can always listen to it when you need some ~chill~ vibes.
9 Write all of your thoughts out in a journal
When you have a lot on your mind it helps to get it out of there! Studies have shown that emptying your thoughts onto paper for 20 minutes a day can majorly improve your mood, and you don’t even have to worry about punctuation or grammar. While talking to friends can also help, sometimes being alone with your thoughts is the best way to get a clear head.
10 Get inspired
Sure, cat videos are great, but so are commencement addresses, which are also available on YouTube. When you’re feeling lost and confused, Steve Jobs’s inspiring 2005 speech is there for you. When you’re unsure if you can muster the courage to go forward, watch Oprah address Harvard’s class of 2015. When you need a combo of laughter and feels, cue Ellen DeGeneres. And, to watch the most inspiring person in the world, find Leslie Knope on Netflix.
11 Take a luxurious bath
If you don’t have a tub, you can still light some candles and massage your feet with lotion. You deserve to relax and you might as well go all out! Romance yourself, show yourself with the kind of care Mariah Carey would show herself.
Make your plan of action
There might be times this week when you feel helpless and too small to make the changes you want to see happen. The truth is, you are small, but so is everyone else. You have just as much power to make a difference as anyone. Try setting some achievable goals during this week so you can find comfort in knowing that you will be participating and fighting for what you believe. Start by planning to shop consciously and call your state representative in the upcoming weeks.
Good luck, and remember that not all roller coaster drops are horrible, some are fun and enjoyable! Try to stay as hopeful as possible and take care of yourself.