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You can create the calm you’re looking for.
Maybe you’re feeling anxious because it’s Election Day, because you’re experiencing record heat in November, or because antisemitism is on the rise. Maybe you’re feeling upset about the death of Twitter, the prospect of a “tripledemic,” or the fact that high inflation isn’t going away. You could be feeling anxious or sad about all of these things. Or maybe you’re dealing with a situation in your personal life that’s dragging you down.
Whatever you’re going through, remember this: The best way to face uncertain times is with gentleness. With yourself, with your loved ones, and with others.
I often think back to the first newsletter issue I wrote after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. My core message—to control what we can—is one I think about often.
I can’t singlehandedly affect any of the global and national issues that keep me up at night, but I can do things to ensure I have a better chance of a good night’s sleep. I can choose reading a book over doomscrolling, taking a walk instead of hunching over my laptop, or texting a friend rather than letting my worries run amok.
While these choices will not change the bigger issues I’m feeling anxious about, they just might help lessen my anxiety. If nothing else, they’ll ensure I’m in a better spot—mentally, physically, and spiritually—to face whatever is ahead.
Things feel hard and heavy right now. They’ve felt this way for a while, haven’t they? We all deserve a break. Instead of waiting for the outside world to give you the support and rest you’re looking for, do what you can to create that sense of safety for yourself. (And if you’re a caregiver for someone, do what you can to offer a sense of safety and calm for them, too.)
I appreciated this reminder from poet Heather Lanier:
As we head into Election Day and its aftermath, may we take good care of ourselves and one another. May we have courage to see truly the results. May we allow ourselves joy or grief or rage or relief, but not despair. May we remember that the most beautiful things about this world likely won’t make the headlines, this or any week. And may we heed the advice of my wise pal, Steve Kuusisto, who offered this pep-talk: “Let’s stay hydrated, listen to excellent music. And resolve like Jimmy Carter to never stop doing the best work we can.”
In the spirit of gentleness, I’m keeping things very short and sweet today. I could use a break, too.
I love you, friends. Go gently.
p.s. If you’re in the U.S. and haven’t voted yet today, please do! Voting is a beautiful act of self-care.