Kitchen Commandment: She who cooks the dinner shall not clean up from dinner.
I don't want to raise any of you to take housework for granted. It's hard. It's unfair and not cool to expect anyone (parent, spouse, roommate, etc. )to wait on you.
My biggest regret is wasting my energy on people who didn’t think much of me. You can’t make someone love you. It’s a mystery what brings people together. You didn’t do anything wrong, you just need to let go and spend your light on people who bask in it.
When things get scary, look for the helpers. This is true in physical crises and existential ones. SCOTUS just passed down a few truly horrifying rulings, including reversing Roe v Wade. I’m disheartened in all that’s going on, but was reminded to look for the helpers, the activists, etc. Look for them…and join them.
Encourage creativity, science and engineering: Make a craft station / work bench for projects. Fill it with all kinds of art supplies, engineering kits, tools, pegboard, etc. Stock safety equipment like goggles and make sure the area has good lighting. Lots of ideas on Pinterest, etc.
Remember to $@!#% the switch when you’re stuck: If you’re all up in your head, sad or anxious, do something physical. If you’re down with a physical problem, dive into your mind for diversion and healing.
Talk about “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
People come in all shapes, sizes, appearances. “Clean cut” is an outdated and misleading notion. Be open to who people are on the inside, they’re pretty amazing if you give the a chance.
Great article on how to explain that bodies AND brains are undergoing rapid changes during adolescence. Re-read and then chat!
Not all babies are born healthy. There’s grief over that, a painful letting go of hopes and expectations, but eventually parents begin to dream different dreams for their baby. You have it within you to love deeply
Cindy Otis, former CIA analyst offers great advice for dealing with the overwhelming onslaught of scary world news:
Here are several risks to being overloaded with disturbing/negative content.
✔️ Complacency - becoming so used to the deluge that it all starts to seem normal.
✔️ Paralysis - that is, being so overwhelmed, you can't figure out what to do/how to move forward.
✔️ Crisis perspective - you get trapped in the Breaking News cycle where everything seems like a potentially world-ending crisis to you.
✔️ Depression/PTSD - you don't have to be on the frontline of a war have either/both. Disturbing content is absolutely a trigger.
There are also serious physical consequences to living a negative content overloaded life. I had a colleague who didn't know he had stage 4 brain cancer because the symptoms were the same as our very stressful careers--exhaustion, random fevers, stress, and dizziness.
So, what do you do? First, I strongly urge you not to ignore the news/current events. Ignorance is one reason we have this society. It won't make the problems go away & contributes nothing to their solving. Now that that's established, here's how to make it easier to handle:
1. TAKE ACTION. Volunteer for a food pantry, canvass for a political candidate, donate to a NGO, visit a sick friend. Seriously. Service of some kind in your community lets you be part of SOLUTIONS. You will see RESULTS when otherwise you'd feel helpless.
2. Conversely, for those who may take tip #1 to the extreme--know that you alone can't save the world. Accept your limits. You aren't a 7/11. You can't always be open. At the end of every day when I reached my limit, I silently told myself, "I've done what I can today."
(Note: Repeating that to myself did not stop me from feeling like I could have done more most days. But it was important to tell myself anyway because I am human. We are human. It's good we *feel* things.)
3. RESEARCH BEFORE PANICKING. Easier said than done, but everything will seem like crisis/earth-ending if you don’t know what has/hasn't happened before. If it has happened before, it's can be hugely comforting to know how it was resolved and/or what might happen next. (9/)
4. GET UP & MOVE. Put the phone away, turn off the TV, log out of Twitter. Go for a walk, sit outside, get some coffee, call a friend. CIA is full of ppl walking the building with a colleague/friend. There's a reason. Our brains & bodies need breaks from stressful content. (10/)
5. SET RULES. Because of my work at CIA, I had a rule--I only read fiction at home. I had enough reality at work. In the civilian world, I set blocks of time each day where I turn everything off--no news or social media. Let yourself recharge so you can keep fighting later. (11/)
6. AVOID DARK HOLES. (I'm sure there's a joke to be made about that.) It's easy to get sucked into the swirl of bad news. You watch a gruesome YouTube video and the next one is all queued up to play right after it. Focus on one issue at a time. Deal w/ it before moving on. (12/)
7. YOU NEED FUN. When there is suffering, war, despair, etc. around you, it's easy to feel guilty when you have fun, feel happy, have a good meal with friends. You NEED these things. You will be better able to do good in the world if you let yourself have these things. (13/)
8. TALK TO SOMEONE. Often, we curl inward socially when overwhelmed w/ negative content. It's a means of protection. One of the great things at CIA was that everyone else knew what you were going through. Whether it's therapy or talking to your person, talking helps.