5 Tips For Calming the Fuck Down While the World Falls Apart

Advice from a bestselling self-help author who is just as anxious as you are

5 Tips for calming the fuck down about the world falling apart

  1. Limit your exposure. A responsibly informed citizen doesn’t have to be gathering information over breakfast, on the toilet, astride an exercise bike, during their commute, AND right before going to sleep (or trying to go to sleep, anyway). A once-or-twice-per-day news dump should be sufficient to keep you in the know without also keeping your blood pressure higher than Snoop Dogg.
  2. Find a balance. If you can’t dodge the 24-hour news cycle, for every @WashingtonPost you follow, add a palliative account to the mix. On Twitter, I recommend @PepitoTheCat, which is just time-stamped black and white footage of some cat in France coming and going through his cat door, accompanied by the captions “Pépito is out” or “Pépito is back home.” I like to scroll through Pépito’s feed before bed. It’s like counting sheep, but instead you’re counting the same French cat over and over again. Très relaxing.
  3. Bone up. It may seem counterintuitive, but doing a deep dive into whatever single current event is giving you the biggest case of the what-ifs can actually help you vanquish some of your more paranoid fantasies. For example, researching how the “nuclear football” actually works and learning that a certain feeble-minded President would have to memorize certain information in order to launch an attack may have done wonders for a certain someone’s ability to stop worrying [quite so much] about the prospect of this particular mushroom shitcloud sprouting any time soon. You can do the same in re: Coronavirus — just make sure you’re conducting your research via reputable sources like the World Health Organization or the Mayo Clinic, not Uncle Gary’s Whiskey-Time YouTube channel.
  4. Take a memo. Drafting an angry letter to a global leader, a local representative, or, say, a morally repugnant dick weasel who hid virus statistics to help their re-election campaign— can really get the mad out of you. I know this from experience! Also, journaling is scientifically proven to help calm you down by getting all those burning, churning thoughts out of your head and onto the page. You don’t even have to send your angry missive to reap the in-the-moment benefit, but for the cost of a stamp it might be nice to know it’ll reach its intended target. Or at least clutter their inbox. Jerk.
  5. Do good. When I’m feeling powerless about the state of the world, one thing that brings me comfort is donating to a cause — whether it be a global relief fund, a local charity, or just a single person who needs a hand. Is this my economic privilege talking? Sure, but if it makes me feel better and helps someone less fortunate, all I see is a two-for-one special on good deeds. And certainly “giving” needn’t require a cash outlay. You have other resources at your disposal — such as time and energy spent calling your elderly relatives to check in on them during isolating times, or calling your legislators to demand government aid for small businesses and vulnerable workers. If your friends write books or host podcasts or have other quarantine-friendly businesses, you can recommend their stuff to your networks. Stay home to avoid spreading the virus; spread the word to help others stay afloat. Win-win!
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sarah knight

NYT bestselling author of The No Fucks Given Guides | My latest is F*CK NO! | Check it out here: http://nofucksgivenguides.com/fn/