I won’t lie. I’ve been listening to Christmas carols since late August. With crazy chaos everywhere, I needed to hear something — anything — that made me think of joy to the world or peace in a manger. Granted, I’m not the most religious person in the world but the sense of doom I felt when I looked at the election, coronavirus, race relations, and a tanked economy drove me to find solace in music, specifically Handel’s “Messiah.” I slowly realized that I need coping strategies to stay sane until the presidential election.
So, it’s late August and I’m belting out the hallelujahs in Handel’s Messiah in 90 degree Atlanta heat. I knew then I had a serious problem. It doesn’t help that I’m writing for and editing a news site. It’s bad news, all day, every day.
If you, like me, are checking your phone 700 times a day to see the latest Trump tweet or your left eye has a slight twitch when you think about debates or Election Day, then you may need to take a step back and reassess how you’re handling your emotions — or not.
Pandemic and election fatigue are real. The worst part is there’s no escape.
A million years ago like, say, January, I might have booked an Airbnb in Savannah or planned a relaxing cruise to the Caribbean. Even, take a relaxing drive. Can’t do that anymore, at least not without a mask covering my face making it hard to flirt with the distinguished looking guy in the Range Rover one lane to the right. I try to make like a mysterious Mata Hari to get his attention but, no dice. Damn this pandemic!
The only real outlet people have now is either shooting guns in the air or opening the refrigerator door 20 times a day only to see that nothing has changed. If you throw caution to the wind and actually leave the house, you have to gird up like a warrior to buy Cheetos at the Quickie Mart. It’s horrible.
But, I’m starting to get the hang of things and my emotions are evening out with these six coping strategies until the election:
- Marvel action movies and Japanese anime. They work because, as my therapist said, I need a hero. We don’t seem to have one in America right now. Maybe we’ll get a hero and a shero on November 3.
- A wig. Normally, I wear my hair in a short afro but I haven’t seen a barber in months. I thought I’d try something different so I ordered this wig online. I thought it was cute but then I put it on. I looked like an older, female version of Rick James, but with glasses. It was Super Freaky.
- SNL reruns featuring all the funniest characters like Stefon, the Church Lady, Roseanne Rosannadanna, Mr. Robinson, and Mary Catherine. You. will. be. rolling.
- Old James Brown videos on YouTube. His hair ALONE will have you laughing but I got up and shook my booty. (Without exercising as much as I normally do, there’s a whole lot more booty to shake.)
- Naps. You may not realize it but you’re probably tired. I know I am. This life that we’re all trying to navigate together is exhausting. When it’s just too much, I turn off the news, turn on some ambient music, lower the blinds, and I take a freaking nap. Try it. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.
- Fairy lights. I bought some teeny, tiny fairy lights and put them up all over the house. I did it and now my bedroom is lined with lovely, blue lights. It looks like “Denise’s Den of Pleasure” but the dogs and I love it just the same. In fact, I have different lights in different rooms and I plan to keep them up all year long.
So, this is my list but yours will probably look way different. I guess I’m saying to try to find the laughter and the whimsy in the ridiculousness that is 2020. I thought I lost my sense of humor but I didn’t. You may have to look in some weird places to find yours, but you can — if you’re determined.
Rest as much as you can and turn off the news sometimes. Just don’t check out completely. We’re still dealing with a deranged Joker and his minions. The hero is on his way but we have to keep it together until he gets here. Be sure to vote.
Thumbnail Credit: Jon Tyson/Unsplash