ohhh, you thought I would forget because it was my birthday yesterday and I only got 4 hours of sleep? the world of foreign policy never sleeps my friends!! we gotta keep up with that foreign policy!!
That said, keeping up can really BE exhausting. Especially in the era of Trump, it can be really overwhelming to stay plugged in 24/7 and try to keep up with news that makes it sound like the world is ending every day. I've had this conversation about the strain of watching crisis after crisis with a few friends, and so today I want to take a small break to talk about why it's important to stay informed and how we can balance that with our own mental health.
Let's start with an admission: it is hard to keep up. Besides the mere time and effort to read and research and understand, it takes a willingness to expose yourself time and time again to news about things that may directly affect your family. Politics, and foreign policy in particular, can often seem distant and removed from our daily lives, but it's important to remember that, for example, the family of some of your peers might very well have been put in danger by the violence that erupted in Jerusalem after Trump's announcement. The tax bill might prevent your classmate from being able to afford grad school because now that "income" is taxed. Brexit could mean your friends from your semester abroad have fewer opportunities tomorrow than they did yesterday.
The emotional labor, particularly for folks who disproportionately experience discrimination and oppression on a daily basis, is demanding. It's a lot. And we need to recognize that it's okay to take a step back, to breathe, and to just live your day-to-day so you can get to tomorrow.
But along with that should come a recognition that when we can, we ought pick up the slack. Sometimes the people with the most at stake are the ones with the least energy left to stay engaged. So if you feel like none of this affects you, take a look at your friends, because chances are it affects someone you love, and they could use a hand.
I do my best with these posts to bring these issues to my friends that want to stay engaged but can't open CNN because of anxiety, or simply don't know where to start. If I'm failing, or not covering something, let me know. I use these as much to learn as to inform, and they work best when they're collaborative.
To make our community better, we have to work together AS a community. We have a dual responsibility: to ourselves, to stay healthy so we can fight tomorrow; and to each other, to fight and stay informed when our friends can't. Thanks for reading. Happy holidays and merry Christmas. #fpf