My lifestyle has not changed significantly over the past year, but listening to the news, reading newspapers, checking social media, life in the United States mutated over the past months.
The dictionary definition of mutate: If an animal or plant , or something it, it develops different characteristics as the result of a change in its genes.
The current President of the United States is the something that has mutated our life, sucking folks into a vast vortex of paranoia, trickery, and fast-moving, ever-changing events. I thought life moved fast before his ascension to the highest office in the land. Was I wrong!
I need a break. Everyone needs a break.
What is an ordinary person to do?
Answer: Seek diversions.
Here is my list of ten ideas to temporarily put aside political crises
and revel in ordinary activities.
In no particular order:
1. Eat and drink. Always a substitute when faced with problems. Tina Fey suggested cake, but there are lots of alternatives. Dig into ice cream (a great summer choice), a large pizza topped with favorite toppings, a plate of wings from your neighborhood take-out joint…the opportunities are endless. Should you gain a few pounds, well, it is not your fault. The President made you do it. Indulge in alcoholic drinks or non-alcoholic beverages, but the alcohol will do a better job of deflecting attention from the issues of the day. Dine (and drink) with friends, but make a pact to NOT talk politics. At least not American politics.
2. Cook your favorite high-calorie meal. The attention to detail will redirect your mind, and the feelings of guilt after consuming delicious but fattening and probably unhealthy foods will delay contemplating the state of the nation.
. 3. Volunteer. Organizations need workers and people need the diversion. Offer your skills and get involved. Shun political organizations, however. Political entanglements significantly raises blood pressure, causes severe headaches, increases intake of sugary substances, and results in weight gain, palpitations, anxiety, exhaustion, and the need to take meds to calm nerves.
4. Grandsit. The kids keep you on your toes and constantly in motion. By the end of the day you are too tired to listen to or care about the news.
5. Watch movies, read a book, binge watch a TV series. Immerse yourself in the book or movie and forget about everything else. Can be combined with suggestions 1 and/or 2.
6. Take a class, learn something new. As fall approaches, this is a good time to think about new endeavors. Sign up now!
7. Be a tourist. You may not have to wander far to explore zoos, art museums and galleries, botanical gardens, etc. Animals especially help lower blood pressure and put a smile on your otherwise tense, politically-worried face. Visit historic towns and lively cities; take a walking tour or even better, a food tour.
8. Visit a national park or anyplace somewhat cut off from modern life. Do not watch TV, connect with social media, read newspapers, or check email. Sit and stare at the wilderness, the mountains, the lake or the sea, a campfire, anything calming. Or better yet –
9. Be active. Hike, swim, ride a bike, do anything to get the heart pumping, adrenalin moving, and engaged enough to forget about politics.
10. Leave the country, at least temporarily. I am not advocating moving abroad! Spend time soaking up another culture. But be warned: beware locals attempting to engage in conversation about the current President. It happens all the time. Folks begin the dialogue with a statement such as, “what were you Americans thinking!”
This is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully starts you thinking about ways to clear the mind and disengage temporarily from the political controversies roiling our country today. Unfortunately the issues will still be around tomorrow. Better to worry later than stew today…
Maybe one day we will wake up and this abnormal state of affairs will have been a bad dream. Or a reality show gone bad. The director yells, “Cut and it’s a wrap!” performers walk offstage for the last time, and the lights go out.