11 Ways To Stay Grounded When The World Feels Heavy
The black lemurs of Madagascar have their coping skills on point. As luck would have it, the jungle floor of their home is flush with red millipedes, which the lemurs use to both protect themselves against disease and get stoned. When a lemur sees one of these creepy crawlies scooting through the dirt, he scoops it up, bites it, then rubs the millipede juice all over his furry little body to protect against malaria-toting mosquitos while also indulging in a little buzz. Life in the rainforest is not for chumps.
Although I don’t want to mess with millipedes, I would like something to rub on my person that will act as a protective shield as well as flood me with kumbaya vibes. Not just because that’s a really dope combo, but because week by mass shooting week, I’m finding it increasingly more laborious to feel anything but helpless. If it’s not a mass shooting, it’s a devastating hurricane or a hate rally or backlash against a marginalized group or power drunk movie executives abusing and harassing actresses. Some days, living in this world feels like a migraine and Satan had a baby and baptized it in hot dog water.
External crisis begats internal crisis. When my news feed is full of nightmare after horror after atrocity it does more than just make me sad, it makes me restless. Not just in the sense that I feel uneasy because all this craziness is swirling around me, but restless in a way that’s urging me to move; a call to action. But here’s where I get stuck, because where do I begin? How does one initiate change, get involved, or put a dent in the turdball of ugliness that seems to be gaining momentum? It’s like having one bucket of water and trying to decide which pile of flames to toss it on.
In an attempt to gain direction and inspiration, I reached out to my social media community and asked how they managed to stay awesome, positive, and sane when the news is so heavy. Here’s what they had to say.
*Turn to those who are already blazing the trail. Research organizations that are working for causes you care about and donate your money and time to support their efforts. Being involved with these groups allows you to play a part in change (and it’s better than just shaking your head and wringing your hands).
*Start with your family. Have thoughtful, honest conversations with your kids and teach them how we can all do better.
*Know when to say, “when” on media intake. Limit your news consumption to a healthy level and don’t let these topics dominate all your conversations and thoughts.
*Create some joy up in here! It’s OK to laugh and make others smile when times are tough. You’re still allowed to experience happiness when tragedy shows up without an invitation. In fact, it’s a bold act of rebellion to not succumb to the darkness of it all.
*Stay connected with what brings you peace. Meditation, prayer, the support of friends, faith, spirituality, journaling — whatever brings quiet to your soul, do that.
*Gratitude. Seek it out, recognize it, and create as much of it as possible.
*Don’t look for a “why.” It won’t change the outcome.
*Use your voice. Be brave and vulnerable with your words, it can encourage others to do the same. Positive change can reach critical mass if we all start to speak up against the bad guys.
*Move your body. Get a massage. Drink a cup of your favorite tea while reading a book. Self-care is crucial in these times.
*Spread love, light, and good energy wherever you can.
Ignoring the news is only a temporary way to distract yourself from the inevitable gravity of current events catching up to you. Avoidance is like floating around in your own universe — which is super chill — but being grounded is the womb that carries your inner badass. You’re able to think effectively and engage with actionable ideas. Being grounded gives you a solid foundation from which you can propel yourself toward the person you choose to be in this world. Don’t let the hate, anger, sadness, and hurt of this world wrap its fingers around your neck. Sing your sweet song of melodies pure and true. Lead the rally. Chant the battle cry. Do what you do, like only you can do it. Because lemurs shouldn’t have all the fun.