Here’s a list of activities you can do as an alternative to watching the inauguration this Friday. Whether it’s for your own mental health, self care, as a statement of resistance, or to decrease the ratings, I fully support people not watching it. Many people will be working, so if that’s the case for you, you don’t really get a choice of what to do, but you can focus on your work and remember why you do it (to support yourself and family, because you help people, because it’s a passion, whatever the reason). For those with a choice of what to do tomorrow and this weekend, here are my ideas.
1. March. Demonstrate. There are many opportunities Friday 1/20 and Saturday 1/21 all around the country. I’ll be at the Women’s March on Portland on 1/21 marching my heart out. Watch this video about the principles of Kingian Nonviolence from the Women’s March on Washington.
2. Read a book to your child or niece/nephew, grandchild, neighbor child. If they don’t already have a library card, help them get one.
3. Cook your favorite meal or try a new recipe. Bake cookies, muffins, a cake. Share your treats with neighbors. I enjoy finding recipes on Pinterest or from cooking blogs.
4. Find a copy of I Am Malala at the library or bookstore. Read it. This is on my list of must-reads because she is so strong and inspiring.
5. Invite friends for a meal or potluck. Talk politics or just surround yourselves with love and support.
6. Go outside. Breathe fresh air if you’re fortunate to live somewhere with fresh air.Hike. Or if the weather is just too poor (it will likely be bad here, hello possible flooding!), look online or in a hiking book to find your next hike.
7. Go to your favorite coffee place and get your favorite coffee beverage. Hell, get a pastry too. Leave a good tip if you can. Bonus if it’s a local business.
8. Think ahead to spring and plan a garden. Order some seeds or ask a friend if they’ve got any seeds to share.
9. Plan your next trip or adventure or just head out on one spur of the moment if you’re free to!
10. Read this New Yorker article An Emerging, and very pointed, Democratic Resistance. If your representative is doing his or her job in resisting harmful new policies or appointments, thank them in writing, via phone, or in person at a town hall or at their office.
11. Read On MLK Day, Four Questions for our White Moderate Tendencies. Reflect. Adjust.
12. Watch the film Norma Rae and read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and The Dubious Battle. Educate yourself about the history and importance of unions in representing and protecting working people. They fought for things we take for granted like the 40 hour work week, paid holidays, paid time off, family leave, paid overtime, grievance procedure, and worker safety standards.
13. Call your representatives about the #1 issue you’re concerned about. Tomorrow call them about the #2 issue you’re most concerned about… continue this. Find your representative here: Who is My Representative?
14. Go to a local business to do your shopping and support your local economy. See this Pdx Monthly article about how the severe winter weather in Portland is affecting small businesses. Many are offering a discount through next week.
18. Donate to a local organization at the city or neighborhood level that is doing much needed work in your community.
19. Take public transit, carpool, walk or bike instead of driving solo.
20. Plant a native plant or tree. You may have to start it indoors considering the current season and frigid cold or if you don’t have outside space.
22. Snuggle! With your partner, pet, child, a pillow and blanket, a book.
23. Go dance. See this event in Portland Join the Resistance!
24. Take care of your mental and physical health. If you’ve been struggling mentally or emotionally, make a therapy appointment. If you have health issues, schedule a medical appointment. Many of us postpone these types of things, and stress compounds these issues. Take care of yourself.
25. Reflect upon your values and goals. What can you contribute toward social justice? What time or resources can you carve out for that contribution? Commit to something and talk friends and family about joining you. Find organizations in your community that are already doing great work that you value. Join them by volunteering or contributing resources or money.
26. If you are a religious or spiritual person, seek the spiritual support you need and connect with others.
27. Minimize. Go through your clothing, kids’ clothing, toys, books, music, pantry and donate, recycle or throw out what you don’t use. Talk to your kids about donating to other kids who need books or toys. If you have non-perishable food that has been sitting around that nobody will eat, donate it to a food pantry. If you have appliances or clothing or other items needing repair, find a repair fair (see this local example) instead of just tossing and replacing it.
28. Watch the film 13th on Netflix which explores the history of racial inequality in the US focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.
29. For white folks, explore this google doc Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves. I’m putting Toni Morrison’s books on my reading list.
30. Donate blankets and warm clothes to a homeless or warming shelter.
31. Chocolate. Wine. These are my guilty pleasures, enjoy yours in moderation.
32. Get a massage, manicure/pedicure, or sit in a steam room. Do something to take care of yourself and relax. These can be expensive. Find a beauty or massage school for less expensive options. You can ask your partner for a massage (you can find videos on YouTube showing how to give a good back massage!). Or take a nap!
33. Meditate. There are many apps available to help you meditate. My favorite way to meditate is to sit in a comfortable spot and clear my mind. I imagine myself sitting on the ocean floor, and when I notice a thought come into my mind, I imagine it floating up in a bubble and bursting at the surface as a I let the thought go. It’s all about what works for you.
34. Practice gratitude. There’s an app called Five Minute Journal that I recommend that prompts you in the morning and in the evening to reflect and practice gratitude which is supposed to make us happier.
35. Unfollow DT on Twitter. I just did it. It felt great.
36. Get to know your neighbors. I am not good at this and need to be better. You now that big quake we’re supposed to get here in the PNW in the future? Your neighbors are going to be the people you’re going to depend on for help and cooperation in times of disaster. You know how some of the changes the new administration and Congress are going to enact are really going to negatively impact some people? We are those people, our neighbors are those people, and we can organize and support each other.
37. Write something. Start a journal, just free write, write a poem, a short story, a persuasive essay, an editorial.
38. Go see a movie at the theater. May I suggest the next movie I intend to see, Hidden Figures.
39. Coloring books for adults have caught on in the past years, and I can attest to it being pretty relaxing to sit, clear my mind, and color. If you’re more artistic than me, you can draw or paint. Whatever your creative outlet happens to be, set time aside to pursue it.
40. Go peruse your favorite bookstore. This is one of my favorite things to do! In my old neighborhood there’s the Hawthorne Powell’s Books with the Fresh Pot coffee shop inside it. Great coffee, great books, enough said.
41. For white parents and all interested, read this article for white parents about how to raise non-racist white kids. Think about how to implement these techniques with your kids at their developmental level.
42. Read The GOP’s attack on voting rights is the most undercovered story of 2016. How can we increase voter turnout and turn back the effort to suppress votes, especially those of people of color?
43. Walk, run, stretch, do yoga, Pilates, martial arts, kickboxing, strength training. Do it at home, the gym, on top of a mountain, wherever inspires you. Whatever form of movement gets your endorphins going and helps you feel healthy and balanced, do that.
44. Ask your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or someone you’re close with from a previous generation or from another region or country about political movements they’ve been part of or dark times they lived through or experienced first-hand. My parents have both been politically active in their lives and I find myself wondering about their experiences and what I can learn from them. In fact, #12 up there about unions, that was both my parents’ contribution to this list when I asked them what they’d say we should do instead of watching the inauguration.
45. Consider having a discussion with someone who holds different views than you if you feel safe doing so. Find common ground if possible. Explain your views and listen to theirs. You don’t have to agree and you can debate. What can people across the aisle come together to achieve if we can find common ground? You can leave this for another day if right now is more of a time for self care.
Short of property damage, harming someone, violent crime, etc., remember that nearly anything would be better to do than watch this spectacle during this dark moment in history.
Share with me what you’ll do tomorrow and this weekend.