It seems that 2017 has been nothing but a constant stream of heavily heated political opinions, discussions, fears, and strongly held beliefs. In less than a week, on June 8th, there will be a General Election here in the UK, one that seems to weigh heavily on most of our minds and is present in many of our discussions as of late.
Is it “good” that we’re talking about politics so much?
On one hand, yes! It is great that so many people are becoming involved and interested in this aspect of our society that has typically been seen as the stuffy, predictable, and boring body that maintains the status quo. If we look around, many of us can clearly see that people who were otherwise uninterested are now getting informed and becoming a part of the process. This is a very important piece of how our society functions and whether we all agree on the partiulars or not, it is a wonderful thing that more people are beginning to care and are taking action.
While more people are getting involved, it is important to remind ourselves that burnout is very real. When we are continuously surrounded by these types of discussions, we can easily frustrate, overexert, and exhaust ourselves as well as others. In a time where our worlds can be easily accessible and our thoughts are regularly shared instantly, we need to be a bit more careful with how we interact with one another. No matter how passionate or involved, it is important to be able to take a step back and realise when we (and others) might be needing a break.
Many of us are feeling divided. What do we do about it?
The issues being discussed are heavily weighted, they impact nearly all of us, and they are not to be taken lightly. While we all have opinions about what is best for us, for our communities, and for the country, we must remember to do our best to listen. We only feel divided when we do not take the time to appreciate and understand other sides. Everyone brings their own experiences and perspective on how the world around us works. These ideas shape how we view the best path forward and they are unlikely to change overnight.
These next few days might feel a little extra stressful and exhausting, so we must be sure to check in with ourselves and others. A little self-care can go a long way.
How to self-care during the coming week
Take breaks. We must make time for what feels good to our bodies and minds. If that means watching a silly television show, taking a bath, or going on a hike, it’s important that we make room for these experiences.
Patience, patience, patience. Change does not happen all in one go or all in one vote. True change happens in the day-to-day interactions, the little things that fill our lives. We must do our best to be patient, with ourselves, with others, and with our political processes.
Have the tough conversations. When we can, we must find time for understanding. Where we feel division, there is room for connection and growth. If there are neighbours, friends, or family that we disagree with, starting a conversation with open ears and an open mind might help ease the distance.
Listen more than we speak. This one is much easier said than done. We are often quick to share our thoughts and experiences, as they are naturally the ones we know and feel the deepest. We trust ourselves and our perspectives. It is much more difficult to open our minds to the experiences of others. In the next few days, we can do our best to take the more difficult and potentially more rewarding route.
Take a step back. While this might feel stressful, it is important to take a step back and look at our lives as a whole. This political decision has the potential to change a lot, but our lives will not be immediately worse or better.
Take action. In whatever ways we can, even if it is only having a discussion with a friend or a neighbour, the little things matter. We can be sure to vote, share our information with others, and do the best we can.
Show a little more gratitude. There are wonderful people, events, and spaces that are constantly surrounding us. It can be easy to get swept up into how bad and scary the world is, when in reality, if we look hard enough, there is always something beautiful happening around us. Making time and space to appreciate these things is incredibly important.
Let us know how you’re feeling pre-election! Share any thoughts, experiences, or advice in the comments below!