Stress Management Through the Holidays

The holidays can be stressful.  Listen in as Keysa and I talk about Stress Management.  The worksheet we discuss, as well as the tips we shared and a couple of extras are below!

Worksheet:

Managing Holiday Expectations Worksheet

Our Top Tips for Stress Management

  1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
    • Being sleep deprived will cause you to be tired.  When you are tired, you are more reactive to stressors in life.  Little things may bother you that most likely wouldn’t when you are well rested.  So, get those Zzz’s!
  2. Set a Budget: before shopping for presents and food, set a budget.
    • Some stress you are feeling over the holidays may be due to financial pressure.
    • To help reduce stress around money, plan ahead, review your finances, and set a realistic budget for your gifts.
    • This way you know what your limit is even before you set foot in the store, or open your web browser to Lululemon.
  3. Make Time for Yourself
    • Your schedule may be extra full during the holidays and with so much going on you may not have a moment to yourself.  
    • It is important to make time for yourself so you can breath and clear your head.  
    • This is  especially important as an introvert, as this is how we recharge our batteries.  
    • Even spending just 15 minutes alone might make a world of difference.    
    • It may be just sitting alone and reflecting on life, a solo walk at lunchtime, listening to relaxing music, or splurging and getting a massage.
    • It’s so  important to take time for yourself.  IF you are relaxed and well taken care of, you are better able to help and take care of others.  
  4. Get some exercise.  
    • Exercise may be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, but what you may not know is that exercise can elevate your mood and help alleviate stress by producing endorphins in the brain
    • Find an activity that works for you, it doesn’t have to be anything intense. .
    • A short walk especially outside will help reduce stress and give you some time to reflect on the season.
  5. Learn to say no/keep it simple
    • The holiday season can get stressful, especially when you have too much on your plate, especially if you are hosing out of town guests or hosting an event.  
    • If you are hosting a party or dinner, remember that you don’t have to everything yourself.  Ask for help for decorating or setting up, and have guests bring side dishes or desserts.

Bonus Tips:

  1. Be Realistic & Roll With the Punches:
    • holidays are not always like the movies.  Things may go wrong, food may get burnt, and aunt Jackie may be drunk again.  Know that everything will not be perfect and that is part of the fun!
    • By realizing this ahead of time and lowering your standards for perfection, little things will be less likely to stress you out.  
  2. Manage your expectations
    • Realize that you cannot control other peoples feelings, thoughts, or actions.
    • You can only be responsible for what you can control, which is YOUR thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  3. Drink plenty of water
    • Staying hydrated will help you handle stress.  When you are dehydrated, your body will send mixed signals and thirst may show up in forms of cravings.  It’s really hard to handle the hustle and bustle of crowded shopping malls when you are dehydrated and craving that chocolate…did someone say Godiva? It’s on my way to Nordstrome’s.  
  4. Online shopping:  I love shopping from the comfort of my couch. No lines, no crowds, no hassle.

Developing Healthy Eating Habits for your Kids

 

 

 

According to the CDC, as of 2014, 17% of children ages 2-19 are obese.  “The prevalence of obesity was 8.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds compared with 17.5% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds.”

Learn how to start your babies off eating healthy foods from the start.  Keysa introduces us to “Baby-Led Weaning” and talks about how it is working for her family and her adorable veggie-eating baby.

Mary gives some tips on how to start getting your family eating healthy if your kids are already older.

Our ten take away tips are below!

 

 

  1. Know your why. Making a commitment to eating healthy in a culture where vegetables are not the norm can be a challenge at times.  Keeping in mind why you want to introduce your child to healthy food, and making sure it’s a strong, motivating reason for you can really help in challenging times.
  2. Offer your baby a variety of foods, especially vegetables, fruit, beans, rice, quinoa, meat.  Try cooking them in different ways if your baby or child does not take to the food right away.  It may take multiple exposures for your child to become accustomed to the taste and texture of certain foods.  Just because they don’t eat it on the first try, don’t give up.  Offer it to them multiple times, and try preparing it in different ways.
  3. Let your baby/toddler experiment with food.  At first, baby may just squish the food and move it around on the highchair tray.  This is all a part the learning experience when it comes to food.  They are testing and experimenting with the food and that is just fine.  They will eventually get it to their mouth and decide if they like it or not.
  4. Let babies and children make their own decisions about what foods they like.  Often, we take our child’s dislikes of food personally. Often times as parents we feel that it is our duty or job to get our children to eat.  Let go of your connection to their eating preferences.  Just like you may not like squash because of the texture, your child may not like bananas (your favorite fruit) for the same reason.  It has nothing to do with you.
  5. Keep healthy food on hand.  Kids will eat what’s around, and if they are really hungry, they will eat fruit and veggies for snacks.  
  6. Don’t make a big deal out of new foods, especially veggies. Put the food on their plate, tell them what it is, and answer any questiOn Don’t bribe or r beg. If they ask, explain why the food is healthy and that making good eating choices is important for a healthy body! When I give a new food to my daughter, I tell her what it is and leave it at that.  I don’t watch her and wait for a reaction or protest. If she does protest, I ignore her, this doesn’t give her attention for her protests and discourages it.  She will either not eat it or she will usually take a taste of it.  
  7. Get toddlers and children to be a part of the planning, shopping, and cooking process. Getting children involved in the planning and cooking process will help children feel like they have a say in what they are eating.  When children are involved in the process, they are more likely to eat the food because they helped make it, versus random foods being placed in front of them.  When I was teaching 5th grade, we had a garden where we grew bok choy and lettuce.  The students were so excited to care for these plants and when harvest time came around, they were excited to make a salad out of the lettuce and eat it!  They were willingly eating vegetables because they were such a huge part of the process.  They were empowered by growing the food.
  8. Never use food as a reward. This is an important step to take with kids. We reward everything from good grades to good behavior to birthdays with food of some kind, creating a feeling that eating certain foods is associated with being special or doing well. While eating is certainly a social and family activity and many important events involve food, it is important to break the association with food and a feeling of achievement or happiness. Let family dinner time be the time of bonding over food shared, and let other things replace foods as rewards. Rewards can be a family outing, a bike ride in the park, a new book, the chance to have a friend over, etc. Breaking the cycle of associating food with fun and achievement will help ensure the child does not ever become an emotional eater and give the child a strong, rational, foundation to base dietary choices on.On the other end of the spectrum, don’t sooth your child with food either.  Such as when your child is sad, giving them ice cream does not develop a healthy relationship with food.  Offer a hug, to go on a bike ride, or reading some books to your child.
  9. Have family meals.  Whether it’s dinner, lunch, or breakfast, it is important to model for your children healthy eating habits, and this includes eating as a family.  Turn off all electronics, including phones (at least put them on vibrate and don’t bring them to the table) and tvs. Research shows that children who eat dinners at the table with their parents have better nutrition and are less likely to get in serious trouble with their weight as teenagers.
  10. Model Healthy Eating Habit: Parenting experts agree that children pick up behavior based much less on what they are told and much more on what they observe. If they see you routinely eating veggies and enjoying them, they will start to choose it themselves.  Likewise, if they see you sitting on the couch watching tv with a bag of potato chips, they are going to want to do the same thing.  

How to get in touch with Keysa:
Hire Keysa to coach you!
Check out her website here
Her Facebook here
Find her on Instagram!

Find Mary on:
Facebook
Instagram or
Send an email.  I would love to hear from you!

Eating Healthy On Vacation

Mary and Keysa. Superheroes.

Keysa Amaro and I talk about planning ahead for vacations.  When you’re eating healthy, it can be a challenge to stick to your plan!  We give you some great tips and I tell you all about how I did, on my vacation, sticking to my own plan.  Scroll down for some pics and info on how to get in touch with us for any questions, or to work with us.

How to get in touch with Keysa:
Hire Keysa to coach you!
Check out her website here
Her Facebook here
Find her on Instagram!

Find Mary on:
Facebook
Instagram or
Send an email.  I would love to hear from you!

Mary enjoying an Ice Cream Cone
View from the Sullivan Family Vacation House
Mary and her Dad checking out the amazing creation that Mary’s nieces made to celebrate her birthday.

Keysa’s Info:

My Experience
Keysa Amaro is a certified Health Coach and studied holistic nutrition at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and also earned her Masters of Education in Teaching from the University of Hawaii Manoa. She opened her Nutrition Coaching practice in 2014 where she works one-on- one with people who want to lose weight in order to teach them healthier eating habits, how to meal plan, grocery shop, and develop healthy thoughts around eating and body image.  Through her practice, she develops individualized plans to meet the client where they are and move them forward to meet their goals that they set together. Keysa also provides group coaching and nutrition classes as well as corporate
nutrition classes focusing on making small changes to develop healthy nutrition habits for a lifetime. She lives and works in Yona, GU and coaches people in person and over the phone. In her free time, you will find Keysa stand up paddle boarding, hiking, or at CrossFit, as she understands the importance of staying active through doing what you enjoy.

Contact Info
Website: keysahale.com
Instagram: @cleanliving_dirtyworld
Facebook: facebook.com/cleanlivingdirtyworld/
Email: keysa.amaro@gmail.com

How Much Can You Handle?

Have you ever gone through a time in your life, when it seems the hits just keep on coming, one after the other?  It always seems to happen when life is going great.  Everything seems to be going smoothly, everybody is doing fine and then one thing happens, and another, and another, and another.  This was my last week.

Last weekend we found out that the sale of our townhouse in Hawaii had fallen through after an assessment.  This raised some questions, and I had to deal with the feeling that I had been punched in the gut.  Over the week we discovered there was a slow leak, there was damage to the downstairs apartment, the fix was going to cost approximately 15,000 dollars and that wasn’t the only thing that needed fixing.  Nathan and I no longer have credit card space to keep this place afloat.  We don’t have a renter, so we’ve been paying the mortgage and our current rent.  It’s already a lot.

To keep a complicated story short, I had several phone calls and emails over the week that brought on that feeling of terror that included my whole body shaking and numbness in my face.  My brain was having great difficulty computing this level of news.  Nobody had died, there was not real tragedy, but my brain was definitely interpreting this news as if my life was in extraordinary danger.

On top of all of this, I had made a commitment not to buffer.  In other words, I commit to not overeating and not drinking to cover my feelings.  This was all well and good when life was going pretty well, but on Tuesday this week I was in full on panic mode.  That was the day I got the bill for the leak and couldn’t remember if I had paid my homeowner’s insurance or not.  And I couldn’t get in touch with my insurance guy to find out for hours.

So, I sat on my couch in my office.  Then I scrolled facebook for a few minutes.  Then I just grabbed my keys and left.  I walked around the block in the heat.  I just walked and walked.  Then I sat in my car with the air conditioning on in the silence.  And I let it all in.  I was terrified.  And I was trying to push it away.  I decided not to, and just sat with the panic and the terror.  It felt awful and it lasted for an hour before I looked at my clock and realized that I was supposed to see a client 5 minutes before.  Luckily, he was a no-show that day and I called my friend, Joanna.  She lovingly asked if I needed her to go harass anyone for me, and as nice as that sounded, I really just needed to say the words out loud, “I am scared and I don’t know what to do.”  She listened, and that was all I needed.

My next client came in, and I was able to be present for her.  I could let her feel her own pain, because I had just sat and allowed my own.

And you guys.  I did not drink that night.  I did not have cookies or bread or crackers or sugar.  I had exactly what I planned on eating.  And it was fine.  I did this all week.  Bad news, allow feelings, stick to plan.  It’s been amazing.  I’ve learned so much about what I am capable of.

I’ve learned I can handle hearing bad news.

I’ve learned I can communicate bad news to my husband and allow him to have whatever feelings he needs to have about it.  It is not my job to protect him from his feelings and it was an immense relief to allow him to do his own work.  (Oddly,he is much better at handling his own feelings than I am, go figure)

I’ve learned that money is just math.  It is just numbers on a paper, that I can manipulate.  I can just look for money elsewhere to make up for the money that is needed.  Problem- solution.  No drama.

And I learned that I do not need flour, sugar, or alcohol to make me feel better.  I can handle any feeling that comes my way.

Mind. Blown.

Have you ever had a week like this?  Would you like to learn how to handle it without buffering?  Contact me, I am dying to help you.  I can’t believe I’m learning all of this now, at 36.

 

Emotional Eating with Keysa Amaro

Any time you are eating for any reason other than hunger- eating for entertainment, because you’re bored, because you are sad, etc

The idea of weight loss is actually quite simple, right?  Eat less than your body needs and it will use the fat off of your body.  Eat more than you need and you will store fat.

The problem is that we are using food to solve problems other than hunger.  Every time we try to diet, restrict, eat “healthy” foods that we don’t enjoy, is that all of the emotions that we have been stuffing down show up.  That can feel incredibly scary when we don’t know how to feel our emotions.  We don’t like to feel negative emotions.  Fear, boredom, irritation, dissatisfaction, anger, worry, shame, disappointment, guilt.  It can all feel like too much.  So we eat.

Listen to our talk about what emotional eating is, what causes it, and how to start taking steps to stop using food to buffer your feelings.

How to get in touch with Keysa:
Hire Keysa to coach you!
Check out her website here
Her Facebook here
Find her on Instagram!

Find Mary on:
Facebook
Instagram or
Send an email.  I would love to hear from you!

Resources from this episode:

Emotional Eating Worksheet

Emotions List

The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo- Listen to Episode 1 for sure!

Hectic Summer Schedules with Keysa Amaro

Keysa Hale, Health Coach

Here is the latest podcast!  Keysa and I peer into the future, discuss ways to keep your commitment to healthy eating over the summer, and the baby chimes in with some good advice.

Practical tips:

  1. Plan ahead!  Planning even just one day ahead can save you a ton of time and energy that you otherwise waste on deciding what to eat.  Planning a full week ahead of time would be even better.
  2. Make more than you need and pack up your leftovers.  Keysa gives you the ingredients of her Buffalo Chicken Casserole.  She uses the leftovers for lunches for the next couple of days.
  3. Make and pack easy salads for lunches with pre-chopped veggies and some leftover protein or some rotisserie chicken.  Or go next level like Keysa and chop your own veggies and prep for the week ahead.
  4. Practice saying “no, thank you.”  I can’t think of anything harder than turning down delicious potluck dishes that friends, family, and coworkers bring to gatherings.  It can be uncomfortable or embarrassing or annoying to have to explain to everyone why you are not eating flour and sugar.  So why do it?  You don’t have to explain anything to anyone.  Practice putting your health above people-pleasing.
  5. Find Keysa online, on Facebook, or Instagram

    Keysa and I in Hawaii

Why your self-care is vital to the planet

How my brain works when I’m sick:

Get out of bed.  Come on, do it!  You got it, you got it! Get out of bed. Awesome, you’re out.  Make coffee.  Make the coffee. Stand.  Wait for the coffee to be made.  Come on, coffee, hurry the fuck up!  Whoo!  Ok, drink the coffee.  Sit on the couch.  Breathe.  Make sure you’re breathing.  Fantastic.  Good work.  Keep breathing.  Now you must eat.  Make some food.  Find some food, look in the fridge, see if there’s food.  Take medicine.  What medicine do I need?  Just take a Dayquil, it seems to cover most things.  Take some medicine, eat some food.  Breathe.  Awesome.  Now take a shower.  Don’t forget to use the soap, don’t just stand in the hot water, use the soap and clean your body.  Awesome.  Shit, forgot a towel, cause I was too goddamn tired to think about whether or not there was a towel hanging up before I got in the shower.  So, run and get a towel, dry yourself off, find some clothes.  Put some clothes on.  Try to remember to look in the mirror, maybe doesn’t really matter.  See if you can coordinate colors, that’s cool. Brush your teeth, for sure brush your teeth, you talk to people all day. Brush your teeth.  Do your best, make em clean.  Ok, check the mirror cause you’re in the bathroom.  Doesn’t match?  Who gives a shit.  It doesn’t really matter, I’m breathing, I’m showered, my teeth are clean, I’ve eaten food (I think), I’ve taken medicine, I’ve got pants on.  Time to start my day.

How my brain works when I’m healthy:

Alright, I’m dressed and ready for work after already meditating and going to an early morning yoga class.  What a great morning so far!  I’m hungry.  What should I eat?  I really care about the planet and am interested in healing the world, so I am going to make pasture-raised eggs in ghee.  I’m going to add in the sustainable grown vegetables I purchased because I know they’re good for me and better for the planet.  I’ll get dressed and wear the clothes I made for myself.  I am proud of these clothes because I bought material that I like and used a pattern for clothes I know fit me well and look good on me and therefore I will wear them many, many times.  Which means I don’t need to buy a thousand cheap shirts from Walmart.  In fact, I even took the scraps from the material I cut the pattern from and I will use them for other items to be sewn later and the scraps that are too small will go for stuffing in a dog bed I am going to make later.  I have enough energy now to sit and write some blog ideas down in my notebook before I take my dogs for a walk and head off to work.

My brain when I am tired and sick is only capable of a few thoughts.  Mainly, survival.  How to feel better, how to stay alive.  This is true whether I have the flu, whether I am hung over, whether I have gotten into a habit of poor health choices or skipping my exercise.  As I get sicker or more tired, I am able to make less decisions about anything other than survival.

When I am taking care of myself, when I am making sure that my body is healthy, my mind is clear, when I have enough money, I am able to start thinking bigger.  Who else can I help?

When my body is healthy I have enough energy, and I can smile at other people, I can put in extra effort to make quality items, I can recycle and reuse, open the door for someone, think about a friend and make a phone call.

When my mind is clear I can problem-solve, not just for myself, but with my husband, my friends and family and with my clients.  I can think positively about the future and make plans to make that future happen.

When I have enough money I can focus on spending it on things that I care about.  I can make a choice to spend an extra couple of dollars on meat that comes from an animal that has been treated well throughout its life before being killed in a humane manner.   I can buy vegetables from a local farm, grown without pesticides.  I can spend more money on clothing or items that are not created in a sweatshop in a foreign country and that I will take care of and use many times instead of throwing them away.

So you see, your self-care is important to me.  I need you to take care of yourself so you have the energy to participate.  I need you to take care of yourself so we can make a healthy planet for the next generation.  I need you to feel healthy so you can care about the welfare of animals and the rainforest.  I need you to love yourself so you have the emotional health to love others.  I need your mind to be clear so you can see the truth about how important you are, how important your message is, so you can share that with us.  We need each other.  My self-care is important to the planet, to the health and wellness of all beings.  So is yours.  Please take the time and do one thing to care for yourself today.

Why Meditate?

If you follow me regularly, then you know that I am in the group of people I affectionately describe as ED or Easily Distracted.  Over the years I have practiced many tools to try to get myself more organized and focused.  I have tried a gazillion different planners and to-do list systems.  I have tried positive reinforcement- rewarding myself for staying on track.  I have discovered that there are a few key tools that have worked for me and I recommend that everyone who finds themselves in this category give them a try.  They are not what you think.  It’s not an organization system or a maid.  They are:  change your diet, exercise in a way that you enjoy, and practice meditation/mindfulness.

Above and beyond any of the tools or strategies I have tried, those three are the ones that actually brought me clarity of mind.  And I find that no matter what planner or scheduler I’m using, if my diet is really off, if I’m not moving my body regularly, and if I’m not meditating, then I start to get a sort of “brain-fog.”  

Today’s post is hopefully going to convince you to give meditation a try.

So- why meditate?  

Looking around at the Googs I came across a few good reasons.  Here are some I found on chopra.com:

  • Relief from stress and anxiety (meditation mitigates the effects of the “fight-or-flight” response, decreasing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline)
  • Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • More efficient oxygen use by the body
  • Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
  • Restful sleep

These are all wonderful side effects.  What I don’t see when I do a search, is something that I find super valuable and has happened to me and many of the people that I work with.  When you meditate, you practice “giving your brain a break.”  Many of us in the ED group have anxiety, ADHD, depression, or just crazy, busy jobs or families.  If you have any one of those you are aware that your thoughts can tend to spiral out of control at times.  You might especially notice it when you finally try to fall asleep.  You may be exhausted, but your brain doesn’t know how to pause those thoughts.  The practice of meditation gives our brains brief respite.  Over time, if you put the time in, you will get longer and longer pauses between thoughts.  Many people find it helpful to listen to guided meditations at night time to help fall asleep.  This is helpful, but to get the most benefit, I highly recommend setting aside a regular time of your day to sit somewhere and either meditate on your own or to listen to a guided meditation.  For me, that time is 5am.  Every morning my alarm goes off at 5, I make coffee and get into my meditation spot.  Right now that is on my couch.  I tuck in and my dogs generally join me.  I turn on my favorite meditation app, Insight Timer by 5:15am.  

I have found that there are huge benefits from this.  As a member of the ED group, I am in great need of routine.  I need consistency.  Now that this has become my routine, I find myself following these steps without thinking about it.  That makes it more likely that it will continue to happen.  I do a short guided meditation depending on my current mood and what my day has in store.  Then when the guided meditation is over, I either do a silent meditation, or a focused meditation on what my day has in store for me.  So my mind has been cleared and I am calm and focused by the guided meditation, and my next meditation gets me focused on my day.  I am more organized and likely to get my priority to-dos done when I do this kind of focused meditation.  

I know that I have said before that meditation can be really difficult for those with ED.  When your thoughts are constantly racing, sitting down to “silence” can be terrifying.  Plus, many people have a misconception that when they meditate they should be able to clear their mind of thoughts and sit serenely in silence.  But, this is not how it really works.  

In my next post I am going to do an intro to how to get started with meditation.  If you are ready to start right now, I highly recommend Insight Timer and the 20/20 Meditate for Peace, led by Michelle Zarrin.  It starts with one minute of meditation, and each day for 20 days you add another minute.  The meditations build on each other and Michelle adds another piece to focus on every day.  It’s pretty great.  

I’m considering forming a group for those who are ready to start meditating in February.  Comment below if you would be interested in joining!

 

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips with Keysa Hale

Keysa Hale, Health Coach

When you’ve been working hard to focus on your health all year, it can be difficult to figure out how to keep up that focus during the holiday season.  We want to enjoy our holidays, but celebrations are often based around food and decadent desserts.  So how do you stay healthy without gaining a ton of weight?  Keysa Amaro, Health Coach has the answers for you in our Healthy Holiday Eating Podcast:

Show Notes:

Where to find Keysa:
Facebook
Email
Instagram

Acting from Power, not Fear

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing for a little while.  I took a break from Facebook, where I am generally quite active.

After the election on November 8, Facebook got a bit emotional.  And I needed to take a break.  There was too much to process, and I felt myself getting swept up.  I was torn, I had so much to say, so much to express, but I was not able to do it from a place of power at the time.  I was too much in fear.  So I made a commitment to a week away.

Taking a break was a really smart step for me, and although it was painful, I’m glad that I didn’t shut myself off before the results came in.  I needed to see and feel all the raw pain that was being expressed and shared.  I needed to know.  But, as I say to my clients sometimes, it’s okay to visit the lands of despair, sadness and anger, but try not to live there.  I found myself unpacking my bags, putting on the gloves, and shadow-boxing in the corner.  I could feel the emotions building up, looking for a target.  And because the emotions were so wild, I was searching in all directions for something to DO.

So, I took a break, before I sucker punched the wrong person.

In my absence, I decided to take my own advice.  I got back to the basics.  When you are feeling like a victim, feeling like you are powerless, go back to the things that center you.  For me, those things are waking up at 5am to meditate, snuggling my dogs for an hour before I start getting ready for work.  Two days a week I go to Crossfit before work.  When I’m getting ready I put on uplifting, upbeat music while I shower and get ready, and when I decide on an outfit, I pick something that is going to make me smile.  I made sure to drink some water every day.  I thought about the things I’m grateful for.

One of the hard things to do was to get back to work.  As a therapist and a coach, it’s important to be completely present with your clients.  This is why meditating every morning was so important.  If I was distracted, I wouldn’t be able to be there for the people who needed me.  I wouldn’t be able to really listen.

And I took the time to dissect what I was feeling.  Here’s what I learned:

I am angry.  Part of me is just angry that my team lost, but that is nowhere near the extent of it.  I’m angry that my job is about to get so much harder.  I’m angry that people I work with have been the target of racist remarks, told to go back “home.”  I’m angry that those people who really needed the insurance they are getting, the ones coming to see me to get better so they don’t need to rely on benefits anymore, are going to lose it.  And we’ll still have to pay for them when they visit the emergency room, or when they can’t hold it together to keep their job, and when they can’t figure out how to deal with their trauma.  I’m angry at the people on either side of the race who are using this as an excuse for intolerance.  “Libtards,” “Deplorables,” and a thousand more divisive terms show how far this election broke us apart.

I’m sad.  I am grieving so many things.  I completely understand that we need to fix our health care system and that it’s a scary world out there.  However, even if I really liked or agreed with President-elect Trump’s solutions, there was no way I was going to be able to over look his personality.  If there was only slip-up, maybe he made fun of the disabled reporter and then immediately went, “Oh my god, that was horrible, I’m so sorry, I’ll never do anything like that again” then maybe I could get past it.  But there were so many.  The truth is, I’m not mad at Trump.  He’s an asshole, but he’s just doing the best he can.  He actually thinks that way, that when somebody talks about me, I make fun of them.  He calls names.  He labels people.  “Crooked Hillary” “Lyin’ Ted.”  Anyway, I’m not mad at Trump.  I am just unbelievably sad and angry that so many people encouraged him.  That people I know and love made excuses for him.

The biggest thing I’m grieving are my beliefs about the priorities of the American people.  That we are a people who love each other, who believe in equality and humanity.  That we put the importance of the health of the planet over wealth.  That we believe in peace.  That we believe in tolerance.  We are a country that is supposed to believe that we can do anything, come from nothing and make something of ourselves, that we can overcome the impossible.  And I felt like we voted for fear.  For get those people out.  For I want mine.  For I can’t help you.  My emotions were so strong because my belief in us is so strong, and voting for the ideals that Trump embodies was beyond my imagination.

The hardest feeling, the one that took some time to pinpoint was doubt.  I started to doubt myself.  I started to doubt everything.  I started to feel like I was being delusional, living in an “I believe in the goodness of humanity” dream.  Like maybe everything I believed was a lie.  That’s the one that got me off of Facebook.  I needed to look that one in the eye.

So.  Now what?  I’m not going to pretend that I’m not feeling these feelings.  I’m not going to pretend like everything’s fine, although it’s been requested that I stop being so vocal and out there about it.  I’ve gotten the message, thank you very much, that I (and everyone else feeling these feelings) should just stop whining and give Trump a chance.  That I should get over it.  That I shouldn’t be so mad, he’s going to fix our insurance.  Is that how to handle it? I’ve decided a couple of things.

  1. I am not going to shut up.
  2. You can’t fight hate with hate.  I refuse to be a part of the name-calling.  I will not unfriend you for voting for Trump (I will unfriend you for being an asshole).  I do not support violence.  I will support any of Trump’s decisions that are designed to uplift America, to build us, to unite us.  I will oppose any that are designed to divide, to take away rights, to leave anyone out.  I will oppose any that appear to be beneficial but carry veiled threats.
  3. This election was a wake up call.  We are being called to serve and we all need to figure out what that means for each of us.  During my break over the week I thought about what this means for me.  I am good at listening, at problem-solving, at helping others create plans and execute them.  So I’m in the process of creating a mastermind group for 6-10 progressive, restless folks who are looking for direction after the election, who are looking to act from a place of power and strength, not fear.

Please, I beg you, join me.  Join me in spreading love.  Join me in turning this pain and fear into action.  Join me in being a part of the solution.