Emotionally spent from the news? Take a few minutes to reconnect with the beauty and joy in the world.
If you’re in the business of making things better, the world can be an exhausting place. Lately, the news seems particularly filled with one trash fire on top of another smothered with more trash fire. And how about a nice splash of lighter fluid to top that off?
If I’m being honest, Fiona the hippo got me through 2017.
If you’re not familiar with the heart-stealing preemie hippo named Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo, then you need to fix that pronto. Even if you’re not an animal lover, you have to admit that seeing her overcome the odds and thrive with exuberance is still a ray of sunshine.
Research has shown that nature can help us de-stress. If you need a mid-week boost and can’t get to your local park or a backyard, visit virtually to enjoy a moment of nature, or brighten your timeline by following the hashtag #flowerreport. But if you can, go for a walk with a friend!
If that feels like escapism, it’s not.
It’s less about escaping, but about pulling yourself back into the present so that you can find your own fire again.
Find a way to shift your lens.
The best way to remember your power is to do something for someone else.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of our own agency, of why what we do matters, even the small things, like helping a neighbor mow their lawn. Inclusion can happen through small nudges, not necessarily some monumental act.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that there are other people doing good out there, even if the bad is what everybody’s talking about.
We are actually making progress.
- We will finally have a memorial to honor our American Indian veterans.
- There are Mama Dragons who are choosing to be moms to their kids first, in spite on conflicting religious beliefs.
- More and more of us are starting to see ourselves reflected in movies and television and awards and/or having existing portrayals examined critically. Representation is even spreading to toys and athletic gear.
- We’re slowly shifting the conversation to what has happened to the accused and the perpetrators in the wake of #MeToo to asking about what has changed (or not) for those who spoke up.
- More women are running for office, and not just in the US. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reminded us that people like her can be elected (and voters can surprise us), and more Native women than ever are running this year. Plus, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is showing that world leaders can go on maternity leave. (She is not the first to give birth while in office, but it has been about a 30 year gap!)
There are happy endings in real life.
Like the 12 Thai boys and their coach rescued from being trapped in a flooded cave!
And if children are our future, I think it’s looking brighter.
- Have you met President Austin yet? He’s got my vote.
- When I was 11, I spent my summers rollerblading. Gitanjali Rao invented a lead detecting device after learning about the Flint water crisis.
- Not only did the Parkland survivors demonstrate true grace and leadership, but they’ve also shared their platform to amplify the voices of other kids affected by gun violence, and voter registrations among younger votes is increasing.
Celebrate the victories — and each other.
When India beat an outbreak of the deadly virus Nipah, they made a music video about it:
Not to say that isn’t a major accomplishment! Yet too frequently at non profit organizations, while we make sure to celebrate our donors for their impact, we forget to celebrate the teammates by our sides as well. Celebrate the small, incremental wins, too. Maybe just go get ice cream with your team or something less labor and planning intensive. Impromptu dance party at least?
“Hold on to your heart. Never let nobody take it over.”
Some days are about survival, but survival is also about the hope that there is life and the possibility of better on the other side. Here are a few writers who might buoy your faith and your hope:
- Audre Lorde, “A Litany for Survival”
- Maggie Smith, “Good Bones”
- Vu Le, “The America I know and love as an immigrant”
And perhaps also mindful of your news consumption.