Handling Stress

Is anyone any good at it right now?

Once upon a time I was pretty good at handling stress. I've always lived in high-stress situations; in high school, I lived in a poor trailer park next door to meth labs, and I took care of my siblings--homework, bath time, meals, the works--while I did all AP courses, ran a handful of student organizations, worked "part time" (the hours were close to full-time), did sports and did my best to get my homework done. Most days I didn't have lunch money (hence the job), and most days I didn't sleep much. Teachers would tell me I looked terrible, or that I didn't handle stress well, without knowing what I was dealing with at all, which I've come to see as the norm for far too many teens. Life is hard. That was how I really learned to try not to judge others. You never know what people are going through. 

From there I grew up to be in similar high-stress situations most of the time, from having a special needs infant while finishing college and working full-time and caring for two relatives to homeschooling while working multiple jobs and volunteer positions. It's what I know. It's taken a toll on my body but it's also where I feel most at home, whether it's healthy or not. That said, this past year and a half has really taken a toll and for the first time I really feel like I'm not handling things very well. It's ironic, too, since I predicted that the mental health everyone had worried about wouldn't affect me much since I already work from home.

My body's taking a bit hit, as usual, but between my teen growing up and my entire identity changing while the world is in chaos around us, from the last administration to the pandemic, global warming to so many issues coming to a head that need to and so many being frustratingly left behind all while I find out how much people don't care if people like me die... it's been a doozy. And I know so, so many people could say the same. The tools in my arsenal that I typically employ for my seasonal depression aren't helping, either.

So my question is... how are you handling it, especially if your usual tools aren't working? Are you finding good therapy (if so, where?), did you find some great coping mechanisms you've never tried before, or are you still looking? I've heard that Teledoc works well for people who are still trying to keep their distance but that many therapists are seeing clients online now, too. Are there certain songs, movies or TV shows you're turning to? Any kinds of foods or supplements that have helped you personally? Share what you find--or what you hope to find--in the chat... and know that you are not alone. Not even a little.

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Hundreds of Indigenous Women And Girls Missing

This needs national attention daily.

Gabby Patito's case has been heartbreaking to hear about, and my condolences go to her family. The national attention that her case received is helpful in solving missing persons cases, but we rarely, if ever, hear about the missing indigenous women and girls that are taken on a regular basis in this country.

For example, there are 710 missing people, most of them girls, from the same area where Patito lived. There are over a thousand missing women and girls among indigenous people in the United States, not even counting those in Canada, and the percentage is grossly overrepresented among the population yet underrepresented in our media. We need to remedy this and not only protect these women and girls but to share their stories and get them the attention they need to be found.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA is a good place to start. There are so many stories there to share. There are so many missing women and children's photos and calls to action. Please consider sharing one every day if possible to help raise awareness. 

What else can we do to stop this horrific treatment of indigenous women and what do you know that's being done about it? Share organizations we can support and lift up in the chat.

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The Misogyny Is Coming From Inside The Left

It's the same refrain, even if they don't see it.

Most people who exist anywhere aside from the right of the political spectrum know that the left side just can't get it together. We can argue that we won't fight dirty enough, which is how the right often wins, or that we don't have candidates who are progressive, left or moderate enough (all could be true), but ultimately it boils down to the fact that everyone wants their perfect candidate--and everyone continues to value white supremacy, even if they don't know they do it. ESPECIALLY when they don't know they do it.

And when I say white supremacy, I'm including all of its relatives--the sexism the egalitarians have, refusing to call themselves feminists. The racism and transphobia feminists who refuse to honor intersectional feminism and the work Black and trans women have done. The homophobia and transphobia in the queer community from people who don't acknowledge people who are bisexual or agender. We could go on for days. The right works because they unite under their hate for various issues while the left squabbles over perfection while being incredibly imperfect, and exclusionary, themselves. 

Case in point: how much the left hates women. They will rally behind anyone as long as it's not a woman. And women who are in power? Forget it. They're ridiculed, mocked, torn apart--especially if they dare, say, take a day off, or wear something expensive, or make a compromise to get good legislation passed. AOC's met gala dress (which wasn't the only statement-making dress) is being shredded by leftists across the Internet because it's performative. Well, historically activism has always been performative. The gestures, the theatrics--they work alongside other actions to create change. Performative action is only a problem when it's the only thing someone does, like how a bunch of the people complaining might put a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard but not make the calls, the texts, the rallies, the letter-writing campaigns... You get the idea.

Posting photos of her alongside Nancy Pelosi's incredibly tone deaf Juneteenth gesture is comparing peas to parrots. Not the same thing at all. Yet it's the kind of thing we keep seeing with women while actual Democratic men who continue to impede our progress--I'm looking at you, Joe Manchin!--are routinely igored. Imagine how much more progress we could make if y'all, I don't know, targeted people like that? If you funneled your vitriol into raising funds for someone to challenge Manchin, or to protest where he can see it daily? Somehow it's a woman's fashion choice--which was a good statement to make, which also supported a Black immigrant, Aurora James, who desgined the dress, and which didn't do most of what leftists are saying it did--is worth more attention that the actual actions of a so-called Democrat who keeps impeding any piece of legislation that could help pave the way toward progress.

More inclusivity, intersectionalism and unification would certainly help us remain on this planet. With all that said, let's unite to get Manchin out of office. Share any actions you have to get him out of office in the chat.

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Self-Care Awareness Month

How do you define and practice self-care?

Self-care often gets a bad rep because people assume it means taking bubble baths and massages, which can definitely be a part of someone's self-care routine if they are beneficial to them. For someone like me, the massage might be more stressful, while the soak could be great for my blood pressure. Everyone is different! But the point people often miss is that self-care can be things we hate, too--making a dental appointment, avoiding yummy foods that trigger non-yummy symptoms or cleaning our environment for a bit of peace. Like Chistine Arylo says, self-care is asking yourself what you need each day and making sure you get it.

September is Self-Care Awareness Month, a time for us to start a practice of doing just that if we're not already. You could take one single step and see what you need. Water? Sleep? To see the doctor for the first time since the pandemic began? The answer will differ for every person. If you need help asking yourself, you could try meditating or journaling. I love Jen Louden's Life Organizer for doing this process each week. I try to do it each Sunday to get a sense of how I hope to make my week look, but sometimes is changes and I have to be flexible.

What does self-care mean to you? How do you check in with yourself to find out what you need every week? Share your self-care ideas and routines in the chat.

Texas All But Outlaws Abortion

"Vigilante" justice puts a price on pregnant people's heads

The Texas abortion ban is a new low, effectively putting a price on pregnant people's heads. Not only is abortion being banned at six weeks--long before many people even know they are pregnant!--but they are even rewarding those who "tattle" on those who get abortions with $10,000 as long as those individuals sue anyone who helped the pregnant person get the abortion. This seems like something out of a Mad Max comic, not the real world, and yet... here we are.

The Supreme Court thinks it's just fine and dandy, and other states are just lining up, salivating over the precedent this sets. While it's lacking in language, the Women's Health Protection Act must be made into law to protect pregnant people from this life-threatening absurdity. Click the link to sign a petition and demand that this protection be made into law.

How is the law set to change where you live? What kinds of laws are already set in motion? Share them and what you're doing locally to fight them in the chat.

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Black And Pink Hiring An Intern

Share your social justice job links in the chat!

Any job that we do is worthy of respect and support as it sustains us through life, but a job where you can live your values, make a difference and find meaning every day is an incredibly wonderful find. Black and Pink, a national prison abolition organization that fights for the rights of incarcerated queer folks and people living with HIV/AIDS, is looking for an intern right now, and while the job is short-term, the experience is sure to be life-changing.

The position is remote, and involves social media support, growing a membership database and working on the organization's grant opportunities. This is an incredible opportunity to learn more about the prison abolition movement and get involved in working alongside people who are incarcerated. Applications are due September 1.

Do you have any other social justice related job leads? Share them in the chat! 

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Great Skin Care Routines

Share yours in the chat!

As a young feminist I never really cared about my skin care routine. I don't wear a lot of makeup and it never seemed important to me. As I get older, I'm learning that skin care is really for everyone. Not only is wearing the proper sunscreen important to prevent skin cancer and other damage, but caring for your face with face wash, moisturizers and other products can also help your skin stay healthy as you age.

My hair is red and my skin is fair, so I like to use a strong sunblock, even if I'm not going to be in direct sunshine. I like to use facial cleansing oil with charcoal because it cleans well but it also softens skin at the same time. I used to think moisturizer was silly, especially for oily skin like mine, but I've found that a face oil or moisturizer actually helps my skin a lot. The ones I use are linked here but I'm always open to trying new ones.

What is your skin routine like? What products do you love (or hate)? Share your self-care tips for your skin in the chat.

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Ghana's Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

We must fight this.

As the United States sees an overwhelming number of anti-LGBTQIA bills up for debate in 2021, they are sadly not alone. Countries all over the world are fighting for human rights, some with much less success than others. Ghana is no exception. LGBTQIA activists have been attacked in the nation for attempting to protect human rights and now the nation is trying to pass a heavily anti-queer piece of legislation.

Dubbed the Promotion of proper Human Sexual Rights And Ghanian Family Values Bill 2021, the legislation would allow queer people to be thrown into jail. It's under the assumption that being gay can be "cured," an extremely harmful point of view, and it supports clergy "praying the gay away." It must be fought.

Please sign and share this petition to help stop this legislation from passing. Do you know of any other human rights issues needing attention? Share them in the chat!

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Cori Bush is a Force to Be Reckoned With

Missouri's first Black Congresswoman is Changing Things From the Inside Out

When Congress was breaking and leaving millions of people about to lose their homes as the eviction ban was set to expire, Cori Bush of St. Louis, Missouri's first Black Congresswoman, took her chair to the Capitol and refused to leave until an extension was made. Her actions, as usual, saved lives, and continued to prove that she's changing things from the inside out.

Bush, a parent, nurse, activist, pastor and organizer, led what the New York Times is dubbing a "progressive revolt" in order to protect people. She's known for brining St. Louis wherever she goes, wearing clothes or some type of representation of her home at all times, and her St. Louis family was watching and cheering (if not partaking) in her fight to keep hundreds of thousands of people from becoming homeless this month. 

Let's share our gratitude for Congresswoman Bush and post ways we're working to create progressive change in our own areas in the chat.

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Simone Biles Is More Impressive Than Ever

Sure, her skills are legendary, but her boundaries are world-changing

Simone Biles is an incredible role model and world-changer. She also happens to be an amazing athlete. She's always been so impressive but this... This is a whole new level of awe-inspiring. Not only is Biles taking a stand and putting her own well-being as a person front and center of her life, focusing international attention on mental health and its importance, but she's also shifting paradigms in the process.

In the West especially, rest and self-care are not prioritized beneath the clamp of white supremacy and capitalism. Everyone is taught that our work ethic is more important than anything else. Women, especially women of color, are especially asked to grin and bear it for the sake of employers, community, and even their families. This is how burnout happens. This is how people can't even enjoy moments of downtime in their lives. Biles may have made headlines as one of the most outstanding athletes we've ever seen, but today she's helping us reshape a better world for wellbeing. We're all more than our work and we all deserve more than exhaustion. Thank you, Simone.

What words of gratitude do you have for Biles? Share them in the chat.

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