Americans are facing a public health crisis brought on by the election of Donald Trump.
The American Psychological Association reports that 63 percent of Americans say the current political climate and future of the nation are significant sources of stress. Healthcare providers report an increase in physical and psychological stress-related complaints from patients. We are collectively overwhelmed, scared, angry and exhausted. We are witnessing the degradation of the highest office of the land, diminishment of our nation’s standing in the world, disregard for constitutional law, dismantlement of democratic norms, erosion of civil and minority rights, and disintegration of the social safety net…all while living under the threat of nuclear war. Many believe the President of the United States is an existential threat to our nation and the world.
We are drowning in our anxiety and overwhelm.
With these statistics, it is essential that we each prioritize self-care. We cannot afford to view a self-care practice as self-indulgent. The world will not fall apart if we are not getting news updates every minute of the day and night or “resisting” ourselves to the bone! Writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde’s proclamation that, “self-care is an act of political warfare” has never been more important or relevant.
We must nourish our mental, spiritual and physical well-being and recognize that doing more does not necessarily mean doing better — doing “smart” does. Accept that you cannot do it all without inevitable exhaustion, overwhelm, and/or burn-out. Check in with yourself often and determine what actions you can take to reduce stress and overwhelm. Do you need to reduce your commitments, watch less news, or take a break from social media? Would it help you to begin or recommit to a self-care practice such as meditation or exercise? Once you get your answers, commit to act. Action is key — insight without action is simply a daydream.
And, the good news is that despite the angst and chaos, Trump has provided us a multitude of opportunities for personal growth. He has motivated us to become politically engaged, to act, and to remind us of what has always made America great: the courage, compassion, commitment, innovation, and persistence of its citizens.