Five things to do if you’re feeling hopeless about the state of the world

(1) Feel your feelings, they’re legit. Things are rough right now. Send yourself and everyone else feeling that way (despair, anger, frustration, powerlessness) some compassion. Notice if you’re trying to block your feels by getting into fights, eating things you otherwise wouldn’t, endlessly flipping the channels, or whatever you do (we all do something like that). Notice if you’re closing up instead of softening and opening up to the suffering around you. Then forgive yourself again. It’s tough times.

(2) Do something to support a cause you believe in. Donate. Sign a petition. Go to an event. Join a rally. Then make a note of what you did on a list that you can refer to later (when you feel frustrated about not being able to do anything). Join a group, at whatever commitment level you can manage. It doesn’t have to be permanent, just try it out, learn something new, experiment. Get involved. It might be amazing. Contact me for ideas if you want.

(3) Focus on hopeful news for awhile. Focus on all the amazing women of colour taking up leadership roles, running for office, for example. Check out sites like Upworthy for good news.

(4) Talk to your friends. In general, and about what’s happening — politics, environment, economy, whatever. Talk to people you don’t know, who face difficulties you can’t even imagine. Listen. Meet people in real life, not just online. Eat together, laugh, play games, learn from each other, babysit each others’ kids, take action together. We need to build positive community. We need to build trust.

(5) Don’t close in. Trump et al. are doing it on purpose — dividing and conquering, sowing seeds of fear, distrust and self-protection. The worst we can do to feed into this polarization is retreat into isolated camps. Stretch. Build bridges. Listen. Dialogue. Love.