A list: simple ways to comfort yourself
There is a lot to be angst’y about these days. The fact that the Cubs’ chances of an undefeated season have already been nullified. White people and their tea cups (see Get Out if you haven’t yet). An incoherent, asinine five-year old seventy-year old schoolyard bully braggadocio, who is surrounded by idiotic, in over their heads, heartless nincompoops and possesses the very scary ability to take action with real consequences that impact us all for the much much worse.
Starting a few months ago, I’m not sure the exact date — Wednesday November 9th, 2016 — I found myself feeling gloom & doom on a much too continual basis. If you know me, you know positivity beads glisten my skin when I sweat. My business’ tagline and my overall philosophy and approach to all I do is Life of Yes℠. See how it’s service-marked? I spent headache-inducing hours and too much money for those two letters; you know I’m serious about the power of yes.
Yet this winter and spring, the darkness of nooooooooo! became a daily if not hourly occurrence.
As someone who doesn’t like nor accepts sustained darkness, I wondered how I could part the clouds. And of course me being me, in an easy, frugal, preferably pants-less way.
I started to pay attention to my actions that fit those easy, frugal, preferably pants-less parameters and was surprised to discover how many things I did that I thought I was doing for one reason but in hindsight realized the additional reasons of “maintain my sanity” “do something, anything” and “feel better” that subconsciously steered me.
Then I started to pay attention to how others dealt with the end of the world 45 Kellyanne racistsSpicer homophobes what is this, 1913? utter shame to be an American darkness.
It was comforting and helpful to see people pass into the Fifth Phase.
REACTION PHASES TO AN OCCURRENCE YOU DIDN’T WANT TO OCCUR
- Threats to move to another country or take a Facebook break
- Get distracted by your HOA wanting stupidly expensive hallway sconces or by the results of George Clooney procreating or by the looming combination of your twentieth college reunion and a belly that hangs over your waistband, and peer around you in the darkness, shrug, and revert to life as-is
That’s how dark this darkness is.
REACTION PHASES TO AN OCCURRENCE YOU DIDN’T WANT TO OCCUR — UPDATED NOVEMBER 9TH, 2016
- Threats to move to another country or take a Facebook break
- Get distracted by your HOA wanting stupidly expensive hallway sconces or by the results of George Clooney procreating or by the looming combination of your twentieth college reunion and a belly that hangs over your waistband, and peer around you in the darkness and
- Realize you need light to survive so you ignore the distractions and get to rolling up your sleeves
Sometimes rolling up your sleeves helps others and is selfless and magnanimous and press-worthy. Sometimes rolling up your sleeves helps no one but yourself and is trivial and not even Snapchat-worthy. Both are of value. Because, ya know what? Taking care of yourself, that’s not a bad thing. In fact you should do it more often. And stop the apologies and guilt.
Additionally, your light doesn’t just shine on your path; it illuminates the paths of those in your orbit. So you may do something for №1 and in fact also do something for №2 and 34 and 732. Don’t do something for №733 though. He was a real jerk to you in middle-school and deserves to be sad and alone and unfulfilled.
So in the spirit of acknowledging the darkness in which we find ourselves and in hopes that collectively we can shine bright like a diamond, I thought I’d share my sources of light as well as sources I’ve heard others cite.
Disclaimer: you’ll notice my penchant and bias for analog and digital cleanliness
HOW I FIND LIGHT IN DARKNESS
- listen to the holiday music Pandora station
- drink hot chocolate — with marshmallows on especially dark days, and peppermint stir sticks on the darkest of days
- drink mulled cider — so easy to make with mulling spices
- buy yourself a hugeass, “just for you” mug with a puppy or a snarky saying on it
- volunteer — read a book to a kid in a shelter fleeing domestic violence or take a dog rescued from abuse for a walk
- perform random acts of kindness — make it official and become a Raktivist
- send a handwritten thank-you note — bonus if you buy your stationary from a local, lil’ guy
- indulge in personal grooming — manicure, pedicure, haircut, massage, waxing
- at night, as you start to feel yourself gravitate to vegging in front of a Law & Order: SVU rerun, clean instead — you’ll go to bed with a sense of productiveness and accomplishment (not to mention a few more calories burned) and wake up to an inviting, blank slate space ready for your dreams to be transformed into reality
- get a damp cloth and clean your cords (extension, power, USB, etc) — the dirtier the better (you know, those ones behind your desk and the couch); hold one end and run the cloth the length of the cord and back again. THERE IS NO BETTER SENSATION.
- sweep and mop under the bed
- use a Magic Eraser on scuff marks throughout your home
- change your sheets and make your bed — I am not usually a proponent of bed-making; exception to the rule — people are coming over and/or you’re in a dark place
- wake up to anything but the news
- find apps to make _______ easier
- go paperless and digitize everything
- find the thing that has been on your To Do List for far too long, you know the thing that you keep moving to tomorrow, next week, next Fall, and then either do it or take it off the list and let it go
- play board games — big fan of Hanabi and Taboo
- buy yourself flowers
- file all the things on your desktop in commonsensical folders on your hard drive and/or on the cloud that are easy to find and access and have a desktop with nothing on it
- Inbox Zero — find tools to make that easier
- replace your nasty sink strainers
- run your stove knobs and grates through the dishwasher
- deep clean the dishwasher
- build a fire and stare silently into the flames — in your fireplace, your fire-pit, at a campsite
- travel fugally yet luxuriously
- ingest sunshine — take a walk, lay in the grass, eat outside
- clean your ceiling fan
- track where you’ve traveled
- engulf your home in twinkly white lights
- clean or exercise while you electric toothbrush your teeth — my multitasking soul loves to tidy up rooms or do heel lifts while brushing
- clean the personal hygiene items in your shower, e.g. your bottles of shampoo and conditioner
- eat ice cream from an ice cream shop (as opposed to the grocery store)
- surround yourself with positive people
- not to get all Silence of the Lambs’y, but lotion up! — especially after the harshness of winter, lather your feet with lotion or vaseline and put your slickness into thick socks and sleep with ’em on
- wash your purses, bags, and luggage
- use the “good stuff” that you usually save for guests — wine glasses, china, fancy hand soap, candles, etc.; milk from a wine glass, yes please!
- Swiffer dust your home and office
- wipe down your phone and door knobs
- compress gas your keyboard
- laugh — my preferred method is through taking, seeing, and/or facilitating improv
- buy fancy cheese instead of generic-brand cheese
- lavender everything — yoga wipes, tea, room spritz, cleanser (Chicago, you can take an Essential Oils workshop with the lovely Dana Frost!)
- help someone find a job, a client, housing, a new friend, a date
- put a Hate Has No Home Here sign in your window or on your lawn
- dump a spoonful of sour cream or bacon bits or both on whatever you’re eating
HOW OTHERS FIND LIGHT IN DARKNESS
- always be learning; take a class — Dabble, Khan Academy, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago Glass Collective, General Assembly
- steam room or sauna — King Spa kinda scares me so I’ve never been there but I know many who love it; I do love how it’s financially accessible to us wee folk
- engage in physical activity — dance, run a marathon, Crossfit, bike ride
- find a cuddle party — these also scare me but a group that has Cuddlemonials can’t be bad, right?
- join or start a #resist Meetup
- crockpot a meal
- get dirty in a community garden
- lose yourself in a book
- lose yourself in adult coloring books
- join or start a movement, like Rise, the Women’s March on Washington, and the Illinois March on Springfield
- join or start a group that exists to offer literal and figurative outstretched hands to those in need, like the Home Sweet Home Chicago Refugee One Crew
- run for office or volunteer for a campaign like Ameya’s or JB’s
- have a Job Description that makes people amen and remember what’s important in life
“We believe in promoting diverse voices. We read blind because we value the words and ideas above all else. We believe that books can transform the way people think, can teach compassion and end biases — so if you’re only reading books by dead white men, then we aren’t the place for you. We want to make people less afraid of Muslims. We want to create a safe space for LGBT+. We want diverse books, own voices, and a fair shot for underprivileged writers. If you voted for the dangerous, hateful man who is our current president, then we aren’t the right place for you. If you didn’t vote at all, then we aren’t the right place for you. If you don’t believe climate change is real, then we aren’t the right place for you. If you don’t care about history, the human experience, the heart behind every breath — then we aren’t the right place for you.”
What are easy, frugal, perhaps pants-less ways you find light in the dark?