Self-Care in the Time of Trump

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Back an aeon or so ago, when Trump was first “elected,” and the Resistance was in its initial stages, there was a lot of talk about self-care.  You remember:  articles and posts reminding all of us to not get so caught up in resisting that we neglected to eat healthy food, get enough sleep, exercise, take some time to relax and have fun.  As many pointed out, we’re in a marathon, not a sprint, and, as Son has taught me, you don’t burn all you’ve got in the first few yards of a marathon.

It’s been a bitterly grim slog since then and there are weeks — last week was one for me — when we seem to careen from one unbelievable evil (needlessly ripping children from their parents’ arms), to another (dehumanizing people by calling them animals), to another (foreign governments bribing Trump & his corrupt band of dependent family members), to another (yet another school shooting), and it’s almost impossible NOT to feel overwhelmed, defeated, ground down.  As some friends reminded me this week, that’s a feature, not a bug.  These narcissists thrive on keeping you so overwhelmed that you can’t focus.

And then, of course, we all deal with the normal day-to-day problems of living.  (I swear that, in the last six months, my little cottage has needed more home repairs — roof, generator, fence, phone, printer, computer, water heater, screen porch, lawn mower, locks, gate, drainage in the garden, etc. — than ever.  This week, I finally managed to cajole repair-people into coming to fix the toilet and the bathroom sink.  And, then, last night, the bulb in the bathroom light, which I can’t reach (even with my step-stool), burned out.  Oh, and the microwave died.)  Even before Trump, we were overextended:  working, raising families, doing volunteer work, studying, trying to exercise and to have a daily practice. . . .  And, many of you are now, also, doing the regular Magical Battle for America workings, which, as I know, take time, mental and emotional effort, commitment.

We’re heading towards the November election which, and I don’t mean this as hyperbole, is likely to be THE most important midterm election in America’s history.  Every single one of us needs to be certain that we’re registered to vote, that everyone we know is registered to vote, that we’re volunteering to knock on doors to get out the vote, to phone bank, to drive voters to the polls, to hand out sample ballots.  Seriously, go take Tuesday, Nov. 6th, off NOW and plan to spend the day making sure we manifest a Big Blue Wave.  And, block out at least one evening a week between now and then to get out the vote.  Your local Democratic Party website, or Indivisible webpage, or League of Women Voters’ volunteer will get you started.

So, with all of that going on, I want to re-remind everyone about the importance of self-care.

If you burn yourself out, you can’t be much good to the Resistance.

Some of the most committed Resistance workers I know have taken time over the last few weeks to go to the beach or New Orleans, to get out and ride their horses, to spend Sunday evenings with a friend watching The Crown, to edit the LWBs for tarot decks, to work in their (rain-soaked) gardens, to watch Gardeners’ World on Britbox (talk about a cheap, but glorious, indulgence), to sit at their grandson’s baseball games.  To bake, knit, clean out closets, journal, pet cats.

You can, too.

Take a long, hot bath.  Throw in epsom salts, or herbs, or rose petals, or crystals.  Burn candles or incense.  Go directly to bed.

Have sex.  Do it again.  All acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess.

Did you set goals at Samhein or pick a Word of the Year on Jan. 1st?  Spend some time journaling about where you are.  Do some divination.  Make a fun offering to the fairies.

Make the perfect cup of tea.  Drink it.

Bake something satisfying; bread has the advantage of allowing you to punch, knead, and roll, but fruit pies are wonderful this time of year (strawberry/rhubarb, blueberry/thyme, lemon meringue), while cheese straws last forever in a tin and are perfect to pull out when unexpected guests (or expected guests for whom you didn’t find time to get ready) show up.

Make something concrete:  a painting, a sweater, a clay pot, a new blend of incense.

Turn on music you love and dance as if nobody’s watching.

Go for a long walk somewhere interesting.  What’s your version of “old town”?

Chop up cucumbers and throw them into your ice-water.  Slice strawberries, or limes, or angelica stems , and do the same.

If you can afford it (or can trade with a lover or friend), have a pedicure, or a massage, or a manicure, or a haircut, or get your cards read, your astrology chart drawn, your chakras cleansed.

Go to the library, wander into sections you never visit, and come home with at least two books you never thought you’d read.  Read them.

Use Duolingo or Mango Languages to regain (or build) your proficiency in Spanish, or Gaelic, or Whale.   (Yes!  Mango offered lessons in Whale).  Take an online course (or MOOC (massively open on-line course)) in the history of Hadrian’s Wall, or Chinese ceramics, or Algebra, or Wordsworth poetry, or Magic in the Middle Ages.

Climb into a friend’s truck and visit a nursery, an old cemetery, the mountains, an antique store, a regional museum, the new beer garden, a local theatre.

Have you binge-watched Rome, Anne with an E, Larkrise to Candleford, Dickensian, Midsomer Murders, Shetland, Death Comes to Pemberly, the Tudors, the Medici, Wolf Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Secret Agents, Call the Midwife, Vera, Hidden Villages, Emily of New Moon, Wives and Daughters?  Can you suggest others?

At a MINIMUM, ground, center, breathe.  Relax the muscles in your shoulders.  Unclench your jaw.  Roll your shoulders.  Eat some protein.  Use this, which I stole from someone (the Dali Lama?), years ago:  “Breathing in (breathe in) we know that we are in the present moment.  Breathing out (breathe out) we know that it is the perfect moment.   Breathing in (breathe in) we know that we are in the present moment.  Breathing out (breathe out) we know that it is the perfect moment.  Breathing in (breathe in) we know that we are in the present moment.  Breathing out (breathe out) we know that it is the perfect moment.”

I think you get the idea, but, PLEASE, add your own suggestions in comments.  How do you take care of yourself so that you’ll be fresh for the fight?  We really, really need you.

Picture found here

9 responses to “Self-Care in the Time of Trump

  1. I live in one of the reddest counties in one of the reddest states. For the 1st time in 8 years there is a Dem. opponent for TN HD . I have volunteered and am part of the campaign management committee.
    I also have been taking a (free) in-person class in Irish Gaeilge up in Knoxville. Such beauty in a language.As long as even 1 person can speak it, it’s not dead. This is part of my self care, amongst the 3 or 4 other projects I’ve committed to.

    Dia’ daoibh

    • Bless you for working for change in a red county. Even if we don’t win, forcing them to actually spend money, time, political capital defending these seats is a good thing. I have heard Gaeilge is one of the most difficult languages to learn; thank you for helping to keep it alive!!

  2. Since January, I have had the flu, two bouts of pneumonia, two rounds of tick fever, had a roof repair, window repair, new gutters, a feral queen had kittens in my wood pile, and a redtail hawk has decided the best place to consume his prey is in the river birch over my back patio (judging by the blood spatters and entrails). I teach Tai chi three times a week, and take dulcimer lessons twice a week. This is a piece I am learning now: An Emmigrant’s Daughter:

  3. Emigrant, not emmigrant. Bad me. Sorry.

  4. I work out. I remind myself that I may need that endurance I’m building on the elliptical and treadmill, that strength I’m putting on with the weights, should things go truly pear-shaped. Fight me if you must, but remember Grandfather is old for a reason…(and doesn’t fight fairly)

    I craft. Each month I give away goodies at my patreon so I must write stories and make knit or crochet.

    I’m doing a slow Smallville rewatch with lots of meta and rediscovering fanfiction.

    I garden. I have 12 tomato plants, lettuce and my peppers, cantaloupe and watermelon are just up. I’m planting corn this week. Corn Maiden changed my plans and layout, so, off I go.

    I talk to the gods A LOT. It helps. Hermes has seen it all before.

  5. I think your little cottage has needed so many repairs because the house gives its energy to protect you. Say “thank you” and find something lovely, a flag, a lamp, a new rug, something just for pretty.

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