The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was read ALL the news, then scan ALL the social media. Then, I shared a post along with this personal comment: “It’s hard to believe. What now? Where do we go from here?”
I had 56 comments in less than 30 minutes. With the floodgates to politics open, both sides started going at each other. Sigh.
Rather than getting into it all over again, I sent thoughts of “love and light and peace” into the page and turned here to write this post instead.
Here are ten great things to do right now that don’t have anything to do with fighting on Facebook.
- TURN OFF THE NOISE: Use an app like Freedom or LeechBlock to “turn off” social media today. See a list of free and smart ways to do it here. As my friend and former editor Tara Parker Pope wrote in her column in the New York Times earlier this week, “Limit your ambient exposure to social media, where attacks on a candidate or policy can feel like attacks on you, personally.” Other great advice here? Switch your devices to airplane mode and unplug for one hour. The rapids of countless notifications and headlines about the pandemic, the election, homeschooling, unemployment and the economy have been pulling at us all year. Putting your phone down can help you feel less overwhelmed!
- GO OUTSIDE: Go for a walk. Whether it’s blue skies or gray and raining where you are, get outside. Moving your body can do wonders to clear your mind. Or do what I do to stay relatively sane and go for a run. It’s a great way to take out some extra frustration on the asphalt/trails. Studies have linked aerobic exercise to improved emotional regulation and the growth of new neurons; even moderate exercise like walking can yield benefits.
- LISTEN TO A PODCAST: While you’re out there, listen to a podcast. Pick your favorite funny/informative/true crime/whatever podcast, and pause your own train of thought for an hour to listen to someone else. (What are some of your favorites? Mine are: The Moth, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Kind World, Dear Sugars, ReplyAll, Modern Love, Dying to Ask, Nobody Told Me, The Stoop, Oprah SuperSoul Conversations, Smartless, Making Sense, The Happiness Lab, and Overheard.)
- LOOK AT ANIMALS: Watch feel-good animals videos like pretty much anything from The Dodo.
- PET ANIMALS: Or even better, do what Chrissy Teigen’s doing and “give your pup ‘therapy scratches.'” Several studies show just petting a dog can reduce stress, “Cortisol levels are significantly decreased after 15 and 30 minutes of an owner stroking, petting and talking with their labrador. While another study found that a 15-minute pet therapy session almost immediately reduces a student’s psychological stress and their blood pressure.”
- BREATHE! Lynne Goldberg, co-founder of the meditation app Breethe sent a few tips to us yesterday including “express gratitude, and focus on the what’s right versus what’s wrong. She says the simple act of being grateful redoes stress in your body and can help you reframe what to do next. She developed the Election Stress Relief Collection within the Breethe app you can check out now too!
- ASK YOURSELF THESE THREE QUESTIONS: (Go ahead, do it now, we’ll wait. Be sure to write down your responses too.) 1) What can I do to feel healthy today? 2)What do I need to do today to make it a great day? — And this one again — 3) What am I grateful for today? Former Monk Jay Shetty shared this advice on the Today Show. He says doing this helps you focus on what you can control – not what you can’t.
- HELP SOMEONE ELSE: Shortly after my near social media meltdown today, I heard my “adopted brother” (aka, dear friend who feels like family) was mugged, strangled, and left for dead near his village in Africa. I dropped everything and focussed on how to help him – even so many miles away. And guess what? I felt better right away. Studies show even a small gesture like holding the door for a stranger has the potential to reduce stress. So pay it forward – do something – anything – nice for someone else. Another example – a former classmate of mine wrote a nice comment to me via Facebook. It almost made me cry. Simply acknowledging someone else’s pain and letting them know you feel it too – works wonders.
- STRESS CLEAN: This is another favorite of mine and many of my friends (you know who you are…). Tackle that stack of laundry’s that staring at you or deep clean your fridge. What’s great about a little stress tidying is that is has a beginning, middle, and end. When it’s over, you can see your progress and add to your list (mental or real) of “good things about today.”
TURN UP THE MUSIC AND DANCE! Escape by tuning into any radio station around the world, made possible by Radio Garden, a nonprofit Dutch radio website and app that allows you to listen to thousands of live radio stations worldwide. Go to the site or the app, where you can spin the globe anywhere you’d like to choose your selection — and then Dance like some people did while waiting in line to vote. Finding joy amid challenging and uncertain circumstances is a healthy habit for Election Day and for life.
What are your go-to’s for getting through the toughest of days? Join in the conversation and let us know through comments, photos, or videos. We’ll get though this. ??