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Stephanie Hallett
January 20, 2017 8:00 am

We’re gearing up to deal with a lot of complicated, heavy emotions this Friday, and that can seem really daunting when you don’t have a plan for how to cope. If you need a little help preparing mentally for Inauguration Day, we’ve compiled a list of self-care techniques that will help to ease your anxiety and allow you to breathe and look forward.

Not everything on this list will apply to you, and that’s just fine. Just know that whatever you’re feeling is OKAY, and being a part of any great movement will require you to take good care of yourself, too. So do what you need to do to ease your burdens, and if we can help, all the better.

1Make art.

As the great Carrie Fisher told her friend Meryl Streep, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.” Whether that involves making music, drawing, dancing, spray painting, cooking, acting, or otherwise, just make something. Work your feelings out by creating, or just disappear into your craft. Art is an extremely effective outlet for frustration.

2Spend time with children.

They’ll remind you that there’s a future long after this moment in time, and that future is GD bright.

3Don’t watch the Inauguration.

If watching Donald Trump take the oath of office is going to stress you out, step away from the screen! Go for a walk, call your best friend, or take yourself out for a nice meal. Or, you could watch the Love-a-Thon on Facebook Live and catch stars such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Fonda, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson speaking about the importance of love and compassion.

4Hug freely.

Yes, hugging someone makes you feel closer to that person — a wonderful thing, indeed! — but there are also serious health benefits to wrapping your arms around another person. A 2015 study found that hugging not only helps to release oxytocin (which promotes feelings of calm), it can also help to keep the common cold at bay by lowering stress levels. A win all around!

5Volunteer.

Being part of a strong community will help to keep you sane and motivated over the next four years, so why not start building — or strengthening — your ties now? Find an organization that speaks to you and share with it your energy and talents.

“I’ll be spending some time [on Inauguration Day] volunteering, giving back to my community,” says Zoë Welch, a yoga and dance instructor in Los Angeles. “That evening I’ll be teaching a special yoga class for anyone who would like to join! Only happy, beautiful music, and a very special meditation at the end focused on love, hope, and moving forward.”

6Drink Golden Milk or eat turmeric-rich foods.

The natural anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric will help to reduce symptoms of a tension headache, should you have one before, during, or after the Inauguration. Here’s a recipe for Golden Milk that we love.

7Read.

Engage your mind, learn something new, or just pick up that book of quotes that always inspires you. Whatever you read, it will help to soothe your thoughts and carry you away, even just for a moment.

“I’ll be re-reading all of my faves; [Audre] Lorde, [bell] hooks,” says Julie Chekroun, a feminist and professor in Los Angeles. “Gearing up for the revolution!”

8Make a list of things you’re grateful for.

Not only will this take your mind off of everything that’s going o in Washington, it will also give you a reason to love your life. Have kids or know some? They’re a reason to be grateful. Got a wonderfully supportive parent in your life? Put them on the list. Finally got up the gumption to write that book proposal you’ve been agonizing over? Put that on your list, girl. You did good.

9Do something physical.

While we can’t all be Misty Copeland, we can still reap the benefits of physical activity — whether that’s dancing, hiking, walking your dog, doing yoga, or anything else you enjoy. Getting your blood flowing and your body moving on Friday will keep your stressed-out mental chatter at bay and boost your endorphins.

10Take a mental health day.

Simple: If you need a day off and can take one, do it. And if you can’t get a whole day, try to carve out as much time as possible for yourself and do one thing that really brings you bliss — whether that’s eating saltines standing up in the kitchen, soaking your feet in epsom salts under the dinner table, or blasting Lemonade while doing the laundry.

11Go to bed early.

Your body needs rest to cope with stress and stay healthy, so do yourself a favor and curl up with a good book, dim the lights in your bedroom, pile on your warmest blankets, sip your tea, and charge your (literal and figurative) batteries for the Women’s March on Saturday — because we’ve got work to do.

12Feel your feelings.

Last but certainly not least — allow yourself to feel anything, and honor those feelings. If you need a good, long, body-shaking cry, let the tears flow. If you feel happy and hopeful about the future, great! Smile and share your excitement with those around, or just dance around in your living room to Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

No emotions are wrong, so don’t punish yourself for your feelings.

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