It seems everywhere you look these days you’re reminded of the tense political climate we’re living in. It can be hard to engage with the political environment when the rhetoric is strong; perhaps that’s not your style. But don’t disengage! Now, more than ever, we need people to be active on a local level to help create an environment of informed and active citizens.
Here are five ways you can remain involved, without driving yourself crazy, during a tense political time.
Supporting local businesses supports local economies and a healthy local economy supports your neighbors, friends, and family. Buying local also contributes to the social fabric of your community. All of these things support a high quality of life for you and yours.
Get to know your neighbors.
Attend community meetings (regularly). In times of uncertainty it is always best to stay informed. A good place to plug in is right where you live. Community meetings offer an opportunity to meet your neighbors and connect with other stakeholders in your community.
This falls in line with getting to know your neighbors. Now’s your chance to make a concentrated effort to contribute some of your time to the greater good. Pick up trash around your house or in an area you know can get neglected by street cleaners, shovel some extra snow, check on your neighbors (especially if any of them live alone or are elderly). Simple gestures of kindness and compassion can go a long way in effecting a positive transformation in your immediate social environment.
Local politics is more important than ever right now. As the transition of power occurs at the federal government, our local government remains our most immediate and relatable public representatives. Local policy has the power to protect us and provide the quality of life we seek. But we must remain active in order to elect council members, state senators, and other regional representatives who reflect the values we hold.
You can learn about your city, state and regional representatives by checking out your local municipality’s or city hall’s website. Once you learn about your local representative, research their policy agenda and what kind of legislation they have introduced in the past year. If you find a politician you really feel represents your best interest, donate to their reelection campaign because cash is key!
Do the things that you love and make you happy. Spend time with your favorite people. Laugh. Take a retreat, follow some of my tips on balancing life and career, brew some homemade tea, and give thanks for the simple pleasures in life.
In these times it is very easy to be overwhelmed with all the information and news stories. Pick one topic or one small action you can take, don’t try to do it all at once. Be patient, take care of yourself, and watch out for those around you. By remaining informed, engaged, and healthy we will be able to manage the stress we feel from change as well as play our roles as vigilant citizens.