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©Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
©Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip
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Keep Calm and Protest On: How to Stay Politically Engaged Without Losing Your Mind

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 17 February 2017
It’s been a helluva week in politics, with Trump issuing executive orders left, right and center, and protests erupting here and abroad. Apathy is truly the enemy of progress, which is why we need to find a way to sustain anger and outrage without becoming disheartened — to remain informed and active while also taking care of our mental health. Here are a few ideas to help you keep calm and protest on.

 

Cut back on Facebook news

Instead of reading hundreds of emotional op-ed pieces from the Facebook echo chamber, sign up for theSkimm — a daily newsletter that provides a jargon-free, succinct breakdown of essential news from the past 24 hours.

You’ll get the information you need, communicated straightforwardly (with just a smidgen of appropriate humor), allowing you to keep up with breaking events while avoiding the accumulative gloom. Then you can decide if you need to do a deeper dive or not, without having apocalyptic headlines automatically drip fed to you via social media.

 

Pick your battles

Right now there are multiple fires and they all need dousing, urgently. With so many injustices vying for your attention it’s easy to become paralyzed. The best approach is triage activism; feel out which causes get you most fired up and commit to them fully. Select one that affects you on a personal level and one you feel passionately about even though it doesn’t.

 

Streamline your activism

Petitioning against Trump’s policies is crucial right now, and luckily the Voices app has collated contact details for all your elected officials.

Write to them, call them and bombard them with tweets. Create email templates and share them with friends to make contributing to the deluge a little easier.

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Create your own support group

A lot of people are scared, depressed and weary right now. Create a group message or an IRL meet-up to vent and plan activism in equal parts.

Support from likeminded people is crucial to your sense of security and agency during uncertain times. Particularly if members of your family or close friends are Trump supporters and dynamics with them are tense right now.

On the other hand, lightheartedness is important too. When you’re hanging out with friends try to put a cap on time spent discussing politics. Don’t think of it as frivolous, think of it as essential decompression.

 

Get your sign game on point

If you have time and access to a plentiful supply of cardboard go ahead and get creative. Be witty, be wise, expel pure vitriol through your Sharpie. Be a lot more specific than Love Trumps Hate; make your demands crystal clear, and preferably Instagramable to get your message out there.

Or, if you want to be ready to go at the drop of a hat (or the signing of an executive order), copy journalist Ann Friedman and make yourself a reusable Trump protest sign that’s all-encompassing.

Sign from the Women's March in D.C. | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

Sign from the Women’s March in D.C. | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

Donate what you can

Put your money where it counts. In the wake of Trump’s muslim ban, 290,000 donors gave $19 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (which normally receives an annual average of $3 million), allowing it to help protect the rights of immigrants and refugees.

If you’re hard up for cash but still want to donate to organizations that support causes you care about try Digit, the app that cleverly analyzes your cash flow and siphons off savings. It never pulls more than you can afford, and at the end of each month you’ll have a lump sum for donation.

 

No Trump before bedtime

Please don’t let Trump in your bed. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ from 9pm onwards. Take time to wind down: Soak in the tub with lavender bath salts, read a book (chill subject matter preferred), cook while listening to a podcast, watch your favorite trashy TV show, practice yoga.

Do whatever you need to do to recharge your batteries, because you can’t fight the good fight if you’re emotionally and physically depleted.

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