As 2016 turned to 2017, I thought—as I so often do this time of year—about what changes I’d like to make in my life. I’m past diets and other ascetic schemes, so often the focus of yearly resolutions. Rather, I kept coming back to one thing: less screen time. To live more in the world and not just looking in through a laptop or phone screen. To live an untethered life. To live in the present.
Unfortunately, my professional training and work experience make me most suited for jobs that demand a significant amount of screen time. Currently, I manage a college website—and work remotely. If screen time is to be reduced, it must be done outside of working hours.
The first four weeks of the new year, I traveled through Scandinavia, where our days were filled with field trips and lectures and sightseeing. I reveled in this mobile, unplugged way of being. I had my phone with me, but it was often not connected. My laptop was safely stored in my hotel room. Only at night did I briefly log on to check in with my team. Sadly, the course ended, and I had to return home.
I’ve been back in the US for less than a week. Trump has been our president for less than two weeks. And I am exhausted—emotionally drained by the hijacking of our country by the alt-right. Sick of Facebook and CNN. Tired of people bashing my husband for his Islamophobia work. And worried that the worst is yet to come.
It’s time to devise a plan for practicing extreme self-care in the wake of activism yet to come. This is inspired in part by my friend Cerissa, queen of social media, progressive, and writer extraordinare. And in part by Mirah Curzer’s article “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind.”
Extreme Self-Care Plan
- Minimize screen time before and after work. Lay off the phone until the workday begins, get off Facebook for a while, get back on a weekly blogging schedule, avoid TV, take a once-a-day quick glance at The New York Times and The Intercept to keep up with the news.
- Eat real food. Later today, I’ll be heading to MOM’s Organic Market to pick up lots of veggies, not so many sweets, and ingredients to cook actual meals.
- Exercise every day. That’s right—no more of this 3–4 times a week nonsense. I will move daily, and I will do it with purpose and agility.
- Read. Read. Read! There is so much to learn and so little time. But there is also reading for pleasure, for the sweet joy of devouring a story that ends too quickly. Check my list on Goodreads.
- Seek out nature. I live in an urban area this year, but we don’t have to travel far to be in woods or in parks with lots of lovely grass and trees and wild creatures. Nature is good for the soul. So are dogs.
- Breathe and do nothing.
- Thursday: Attend Faithful Public Witness at the National Prayer Breakfast Rally
- This Weekend: Read INDIVISIBLE: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda
- Monday: Attend Building a System-Changing Response: Actions at the Community Level
- July: Attend Transition US National Gathering
- Ongoing/As Needed: Call Representatives, take to the streets in protest, participate in 10 Actions / 100 Days, house college students who can’t leave the country due to travel ban, use countable app, and invent a post-capitalist economic system
These plans are about doing and not doing. Doing what matters. Not wasting time. But taking time just to be. Our country is under siege. We must be vigilant, strong, and keep our good humor.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. –The Statue of Liberty