Columns / Discourse / February 1, 2017

Finding solace in this political climate

The world around us currently is a whirlwind of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. It seems as though every time I turn on the TV, check the news or more frequently, log on to social media, there’s a new article that leaves me questioning who could support or fight the things going on. Social media has been transformed into a tool for finding out what fresh and terrifying thing have happened in the world of politics. While this is an incredibly powerful and important tool for organizing, it can also be overwhelming.

A space that was once used for entertainment has been transformed into a battleground for politics and ideologies. Conversations with friends are dominated by current events, and it’s become increasingly hard to catch a break from the shit-storm that has engulfed this country. There is a desire and a need to stay politically informed and active, but with a constant flow of information and political discussion, it can be easy to feel mentally trapped and surrounded by the worry that it causes.

All of this is following an election that was emotionally and mentally exhausting, and had been for over a year. Many of us have not had a chance since to reset, relax or take a breather. The emotional drain caused by the election didn’t stop on Nov. 8, and based on the actions that the Trump administration has taken in its first two weeks, it looks as though it will continue over the next four years.

Our national political climate isn’t the only challenging element of our lives currently. Here at Knox we’re currently smack-dab in the middle of one of the toughest parts of the most difficult term, of the year. We have to balance the stress created by these recent governmental actions with our academics and extracurricular commitments. Needless to say, all of us are pretty drained and under a lot of stress.

Though it can be difficult, I believe that it is alright to take a moment for yourself in this stressful time, and do what is necessary for you in order to process, handle and keep going in this turbulent world. It’s okay to stay off of social media and news sources to recuperate and get back to a position where you’re able to speak up for what you think is right.

I’m not suggesting that we all bury our heads in the sand for the next four years, but rather keep an eye out on just how much we can handle and know when to step back and focus on ourselves instead.

Take a walk, listen to your favorite album and make time to discuss non-political things with the people that you care about. Fighting for what’s right is important, but it shouldn’t completely consume your life.

I know that in writing this I must be aware of my privilege as a person who is able to take a step out of political environments. Not everyone has this ability, and those of us who do must make sure to use it by not hiding in ignorance, but instead to take care of ourselves and others so that we’re all able to continue this fight.

Rachel Watson

Tags:  column discourse political climate relaxation social media

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