Coping in the Age of Trump

By Elizabeth Cobb, LCSW

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post Blog.

Over the past week, the new president has signed executive order after executive order, shaking the bedrock of our democracy and what it means to be an American. For many of us, actions like building a wall or banning Muslim refugees clash with our deepest values and morals. So how do we cope when the world feels out of control?

Feel Empowered: With the recent Women’s March and other political protests, it’s easier than ever to add your voice to the cause. Joining a community of like-minded people trying to effect change is a powerful statement to the world and to yourself. Need an easy way to stay up to date on protest events in NYC? Check out Take Action NYC’s event calendar.

Use Your Skills and Talents: Think about what specific skills you have and how they can help the cause. For example, if you’re a lawyer consider donating your time to immigrants who face deportation. If you’re a teacher consider volunteering with immigrant children. If you feel connected to your neighborhood consider joining your local community board. Additionally, activist groups need writers, designers and planners, so take stock of your skill set and see how you can get involved. The list is endless. Finding a meaningful way to make a difference will help others and your peace of mind.

Focus on the Smaller Picture: It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all of the suffering that is happening as a result of recent events. When you look at the whole picture things can seem hopeless. How can one person stop all of this oppression and hatred? The answer, unfortunately, is that no one person can stop it. However, you can still make a difference. Instead of focusing on all of the things that are out of your control, feel empowered by focusing on the micro actions you can take to make a difference. If you need some ideas for ways to get involved you can subscribe to Jennifer Hofmann’s weekly action checklist.

Avoid Over-Saturation: This is a scary and uncertain time, and many of us cope by obsessively watching the news or reading the minutiae of the latest executive order. While it’s important to be informed, there can become a point where you reach Trump overload. Try to figure out the right balance for you. Instead of reading everything on your social media feed throughout the day, maybe watching the news once a day and reading The New York Times is enough.

Keep Living: While it’s important to “stay outraged,” and not accept this as the new status quo, it’s also important that we keep on living. Take care of yourself and stick to your daily routine.

We at Cobb Psychotherapy have also been reflecting on recent events and thinking about how we can best be involved. The therapists at Cobb Psychotherapy are offering pro-bono crisis counseling to those who are affected by the Muslim immigration ban and other executive orders. In this time of uncertainty and fear we want to support our community. If you or someone you know could benefit from a session with us please go to cobbpsychotherapy.com and contact us.