There’s a kind of hush all over the [UK] tonight. A drained, somewhat despairing hush blanketing liberal London after a landslide victory for the Tories last night. Between debriefing with like-minded collegues over large cups of coffee, I started thinking about how to break out of the post-election funk and into a more productive state of mind.
Several years ago, I read the book The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight, and one strategy for dealing with the mental overwhelm of information overload is to embrace the approach of allowing yourself to ignore some things. From what I remember, the approach is simple:
- Identify things you care about
- Identify the things you have power to do something about
- Focus on the centre of the Venn diagram. Give all the f*cks about those things. Ignore the other things.
I have been trying to use this approach in the era of Trump and Boris. It is easy to get angry when you tune into the 24-7 “news” cycle consisting of an endless stream of racist, sexist, homophobic, and bigoted statements. As much as I want to be informed about world events, my blood pressure spikes every time I click on another article about an outrageous tweet or outlandish remark. This makes me upset but also contributes to a sense of powerlessness and despair.
But instead, I try to focus on what I care about AND what I have the capacity to do something about. For example, I care about the rights of refugees, and the promise of 5 more years of austerity makes me worry about what will happen to some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. Instead of simply succumbering to helplessness, I have identified some things that fall within my sphere of influence:
- Re-allocate your charitable donations. I am able to support charities directly off my paycheck. Fearing that there may be some really difficult times ahead with 5 more years of austerity and weakened health and social services, I have re-focused my giving on vulnerable populations that I care about – refugees and the homeless.
- Fill up your cart for the food bank – this news corresponds with a Christmas food drive for our local food bank, so while my stomach churned worrying about the future, I loaded up my basket with a few extra purchases for the food bank. Check to see what things are most needed at your local food bank. For example, the Chalk Farm Food Bank is in need of detergent, diapers/nappies, coffee, tinned fish/meat/vegetables.
- Give some time – I will be spending the Christmas break in London, so I have looked up some volunteer opportunities that I can help out with over the break. Crisis has a number of Christmas volunteering opportunities to help the homeless and the London Basket Brigade, which provides food and household items to families in need.
Take care of yourself. ❤