A very personal survival toolkit

It has been so hard to write.  First it was just a holiday hiatus, and then a busy new year, but for the last few weeks, I have not been able to come up with much to write about…at least not in this space.  I started this blog with the idea that it would be strictly professional.  Then, as I found my voice and the topics that made me want to write, I realized it would be professional/personal.  Or something.  Whatever that means.  But this was never meant to be my diary, and in the last few weeks, I have been channeling all of my rage and grief and fear about the political situation into…not writing.  I’ve been treading, or perhaps more accurately, flailing; trying to reconcile this new reality and grasping at whatever wisdom I can find to not get swallowed up.  Here’s what’s kept me sane:

I work in a wonderful place with wonderful people.  We developed a bit of an inside joke about Christmas miracles this season.  My boss maintains that they always happen, you just have to look for them.  So, throughout November and December, every possible positive became the new Christmas miracle!  And sure enough, once you start noticing the miracles, you remember how to reflect on, and take joy in, the little things.  Finding a meeting time that works for everyone = Christmas miracle!  A professional learning course getting enough participants to run = Christmas miracle! Today’s snow day = Christmas miracle!

Marie Kondo, KonMari-ing.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea how much I would love doing this.  I got the book, I read the book, I am KonMari-ing my entire house and life and it feels so good and everyone should do it.  De-cluttering and getting rid of mountains of stuff has the side effect of bringing back into focus all the good memories you have associated with “stuff,” and I kid you not, it’s like a spiritual experience and if this is a cult, please let me be in it.

Putting down my phone.  This one is so hard.  When the executive orders (and reactions to them) are coming fast and furious, it’s been hard to find the balance of being informed versus being immersed.  I am trying to limit my phone/news time, with mixed success. Work in progress.

Meaningful things.  I know, I know, this sounds nauseating, and I’ve written and deleted this section twice because it sounds so self-righteous…but it is honestly part of the mindset that is keeping me sane, so you can take it or leave it.  It’s like my Christmas miracles and KonMari fetish had a baby.  As I scale back on the things in life, particularly the things that we buy for little reason other than to accumulate things, I’m looking for ways to put my money and time towards things (material or otherwise) that are meaningful.  Unexpected notes, calls, and gifts, making a connection to someone that hadn’t been there previously, baking a chocolate cake because it will make my husband really happy, lots of nice ideas in my head that haven’t been put into action yet, hugs, donations to the orgs making a difference right now, etc.

So there you have it.  My grab-bag of strategies for staying sane in Trumpland. How are you doing it?


About Teacher Cait

Massachusetts educator, learner, committed to finding joy every day. @CaitAhern
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