Most people thought last year was bad when it came to bad news and negativity. The election is over, and we no longer have to listen to hours of political debate and commentary about the election, but our world is changing every day. The divide between the two major political parties is widening, and many of us are having a hard time dealing with people who don't share our views.
There is a definite need to stay informed in today's world about the events that are happening. When we immerse ourselves in this information, it is easy to become negative and overwhelmed. How can we find a balance and keep some of our friends in the process? We have to practice self-care.
Some people self-medicate when they get overwhelmed and stressed. Most commonly, we think about self-medication as being drugs or alcohol used to treat health issues, but it can also be food, sex or shopping. Any time you turn to something unhealthy to avoid dealing with another problem, you're probably self-medicating. The opposite of self-medication is self-care.
Self-care is when you make healthy lifestyle choices to deal with stress and illness. One key thing we can do for self-care is to limit our time on news sites and social media. There's just no way you can continually get a diet of negativity without taking it on yourself. Another aspect of self-care is to take care of yourself first. When you're flying, you are told to put on your oxygen mask first, before you assist anyone else. If you don't take care of yourself, you cannot effectively take care of others.
Other Self-Care Tips
Make room in your life for healthy habits. You don't have to completely forego alcohol to practice self-care, but when you're drinking every night to forget about the world, you might have a problem. Instead of turning to negative habits that have the potential to destroy your life, try something on this list:
Get outside into nature, exercise, garden or play with your kids. Get enough sleep and maintain a routine; take a nap when you need one. Take a warm bath or enjoy a shower. Water is very soothing. Do something with your family and friends that you enjoy. Eat a healthy diet. Listen to music.
Take Action When You Can
There are things that you can do to change society. You can work at your local pet society to help find homes for unwanted animals. You can call your representatives about new legislation. Maybe you can even volunteer for a campaign of an elected official you believe in. You can make sure you're getting enough sleep and eating healthy.
Stop worrying about things you can't control. You cannot save every homeless cat and dog in your community. Debating politics with your neighbor who is a die-hard opposite of you will not change anything. You can vote your conscious and make sure the people in your community can get to the voting polls. You can't change the tax code, but you can make sure you are filing taxes and doing what's right for you.
Bernard Beckett, author of "Genesis," "Jolt" and "Malcolm and Juliet," wrote, "Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition."
Be positive about our world. There is a lot of bad news in your news feed, but there are also many people doing good things to help others. When you are optimistic, it's easier to find possibilities than when you are pessimistic. Find others who support the same things you do. Work together to make a difference instead of focusing on the negative.