Post-Presidential Shitshow Recovery Tips
Last night’s performance wasn’t just any debate debacle, it was a full blown shitshow that left my body in tatters with a veil of both sadness and anger. The negative energy blasted through the screen and into my family room, so I can’t imagine what it must have felt like on stage.
Yesterday, was a long day before the debate, so I was attuned to the need to pay attention to what I call “SoulWork”, a daily gift to my overall well-being - mentally, physically and emotionally. I was pretty prayed up, I had cycled using the Peloton app, practiced 6 sun salutations (ok, not a full yoga practice, yet quite beneficial) and I had meditated in 2 separate 20 minute sessions. I limited my draw into the social media trap and I journaled my gratefulness for hearing birds chirping, being healthy and feeling content. Oh yeah, I took the dogs for a nice evening walk. I know it sounds like a lot, but this is my bread and butter to manage regular stress and anxiety, plus the extra layer of stress that comes from living while Black. My cup was full, although I’d soon discover, unprepared for the show of indecency, hypocrisy and disgust that appeared as I watched the debate. I noticed my nervous system as it started to get amped up, but I couldn’t seem to look away from the screen.
I awakened early this morning feeling heavy, stiff, achy and bruised from watching a narcissist hijack a Presidential debate. Feeling disappointed that this is our President, and that he fueled more flames of hate. I agree with Senator Harris that he did not use dog whistles, but a bull horn. 45 can be confusing, ramble and leave us in a tailspin, but he does not mince words when he appeals to his base.
I think today should be a national holiday of recovery from the distress inflicted on the American people by an American President.
Since that’s not happening, let’s get started.
This is a time when you can be selfish and as much as you tell yourself you don’t have time to take an hour for yourself today, you can thank me later. Honestly, my recovery will be a lot longer, but as a mindfulness and yoga teacher, I know that it is difficult to take the full time needed out of an already busy day.
- Take time for stillness. Get into a comfortable seated position, back straight, but not rigid. If you find it helpful, download a meditation app — so many to choose from, including Liberate: Black Meditation App, Calm, Simple Habit and Headspace. My suggestion if you’re new, is to try 10 minutes. Warning: your mind will be quite busy thinking and that is perfectly normal and expected. When you notice that your mind wandered, simply bring your attention back to your point of focus — the guided meditation, your breath, the body. You may have to do this 10x to 100x during the meditation, but keep at it.
- Exercise. Do something to get your heart rate up so that you can relieve some tension. Your nervous system is likely quite heightened today, so calming is needed. Notice the body while you exercise, the movements and remember to stay positive. If you are outside, all the better. Being in nature can reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Don’t forget to take time for gentle stretching afterwards.
- Practice Mindfulness. You can do this while in the shower, walking, eating or any activity. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment. For example, noticing that you are showering and being present. Feeling the water instead of planning your day (future) or thinking about the past.
- Be Grateful. Bear with me, you need this recovery. Journal or write down on a piece of paper 3 things that you are grateful for today. Gratefulness doesn’t have to be big, simply acknowledging the little things can make a difference in improving your mood and reducing stress.
- Breathe. Take a few deep inhales as you officially start your day. Breathing deep into the belly for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and slowly exhale for 8 counts. Repeat 2x. Pay attention to this one, you will need this technique throughout the day. When you feel stressed, anxious or notice you’re holding your breath, come back to this breathing technique. Even if you forget to count, simply pause, take 3 deep breaths with slow exhales — it’ll do you good. Notice the calm and be grateful for it.
Ok, you are ready and your cup should be full. Don’t forget to refill it a few times today. It’s not a one and done. It’s an ongoing journey, available for recovery whenever you need it.