When you hear the word POLITICS, do you begin to feel just a tad stressed and overwhelmed? Maybe you want to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, but it feels impossible to do so without running yourself ragged. If this describes you, here are some tips for how to stay informed about politics without losing your mind!
Hearing this word spoken aloud is enough to get my palms sweaty and my heart a-thumpin’.
And while I’ve had seasons in my life when I’ve been quite involved in grassroots volunteer work and non-profit organizations, bipartisan political debates have never been my forte.
Then when motherhood came along and free time became a thing of the past, political involvement definitely took a backseat. With homeschooling added to the mix, staying involved with current events often falls to the bottom of my to-do list.
I much prefer to avoid deeply heated disagreements surrounding politics.
Peace, love, and cartwheels for me, please!
There’s this thing called REALITY!
In order to help cultivate a positive future for our children, we need to stay informed about politics.
And this means local, national, and global issues.
I know. It’s a lot!
But here’s the good news. I’m not suggesting we make ourselves nuts gathering information, making decisions, stressing ourselves out to the point of insomnia, and sinking into despair.
But I know how easily this can happen.
Instead, I’m suggesting that we find simple ways to receive legitimate information and get involved when and how we can.
Quick Side Note: For those of you currently parenting little humans of the infant/toddler variety, you are in survival mode! Bookmark this post and return to it when your people are a little bigger. This also holds true if you are currently in a season of compromised health or extreme stress.
If any of this holds true for you, your priorities in this season of your life should be sleep, mental health, and connection.
You are off the hook.
So how can you stay informed about politics without losing your mind?
Here are the steps I suggest:
- Get Quiet
- Make it Quick
- Make it Meaningful
- Get Connected
- Involve Your Kids
- Unplug When You Need To
How to stay informed about politics without losing your mind:
1. get Quiet
I function best when I begin from a place of peace.
I mean, don’t we all, really?
This means that before I consume any news or get on any technological device, I do my absolute best to get quiet.
On my “best” mornings, this means I light a candle, meditate for 10 min, and make my tea.
On my “not-so-best” mornings, this looks like frowning at my candle, skipping meditation, grumbling as I make my tea, and flopping down on the couch with a glazed expression on my face.
But I still try my best to sit in quiet for a few minutes, breathing in and out and getting settled in my morning.
Beginning from this place of relative quiet is critical for my mental and emotional well being before diving into any news of the day.
2. make it Quick
Most days, (nope, not every single day because we all know life gets nuts and I’m only human!) I listen to Up First, an NPR podcast.
And here’s another tool I use to maximize my time: I have my settings on 1.5 speed so that I can listen in about 10 min.
This gives me a basic overview of what is going on in the world.
Quick. Easy. Done!
3. make it Meaningful
I regularly listen to the podcast, Pantsuit Politics hosted by Sarah and Beth.
Again, I have my settings on 1.5 speed so I can maximize my time!
Both Sarah and Beth are lawyers and mothers who are incredibly smart and well informed. Their commitment to continued growth is evident through the grace and dedication they offer their listeners.
Differing viewpoints, deep discussions about current issues, and a variety of guest interviews are all regular offerings.
Pantsuit Politics serves as my regular “Deep Dive” into current issues, both national and global. I am so very grateful for the work that Sarah and Beth are doing in the world. They help me muddle through current events and make sense of all of the overwhelming information flying at me out in the world.
I usually listen while making dinner, cleaning, doing laundry, or running errands.
Update: In February 2020, Sarah and Beth’s book, I Think You’re Wrong But I’m Listening: A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations came out. I HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy!
Additional Podcast Recommendations:
- How to Citizen – Podcast exploring what it means to be an engaged and empowered citizen.
- In the Thick – Podcast about politics, race, and culture from a POC perspective.
- Code Switch – Podcast tackling the subject of race head-on and how it impacts everyone in all aspects of our lives.
4. get Connected
What about non-profit organizations to connect to and support when there is a call for action?
For things like signing petitions and making phone calls, there are countless organizations you can sign up with to receive calls to action.
For example, I am signed up for email and text alerts through the following non-profits:
What I appreciate about these alerts is that I have the ability to only act on issues that I am knowledgeable about and have a clear understanding of. If I disagree with a viewpoint or am unclear on the issue, I can easily disregard the specific call to action.
At the same time, this allows me an easy and effective way of being connected when my time is limited.
Now while these organizations usually make it really easy to contact your Representatives and Senators, here are two quick links where you can get this information yourself, just in case you’re interested!
I also support the following two non-profits through regular financial contributions:
Started by one of my favorite authors and activities, Glennon Doyle, Together Rising regularly raises funds for people in need all over the world.
Refugees, homeless youth, single mothers, struggling families, suicide prevention, those recovering from addiction… the Together Rising community works relentlessly to address our world’s deepest hurts.
One-time donations are always gratefully accepted and they are proof that incredible actions are possible through small and humble means.
The CEO of Love 146 is married to Jamie Martin, a fellow homeschooler of three, author, and blogger. I have been following Jamie for years over at Simple Homeschool. Her book Give Your Child the World is a fantastic resource to add to your homeschooling materials. We have used it regularly throughout the years, especially for history and social studies.
While Jamie has never pushed Love 146 on any of her readers, she has mentioned it at times when it was relevant. A few years ago, she offered the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser to provide books for victims of child trafficking. Through our family’s participation in these fundraising efforts, we decided to become regular donors.
If you are currently in a season where you are pinching pennies and every cent matters, know that you can make a huge impact in the world through your FREE gifts of extending kindness and compassion!
There have been many times in my life when I’ve been unable to give monetarily. And if you are currently in this season, PLEASE don’t feel ANY shame in not providing donations to organizations!
Most of us have seasons in life where we need to be able to RECEIVE help and other seasons where we have a little more to GIVE. Recognize the season you are in and operate accordingly.
I just want to be sure to share about these organizations because I trust them with my money when my family is a position to give financially.
5. involve Your Kids
This one can be tricky, can’t it?
We want to educate our children about the world around us, but it can feel daunting and bleak.
Only share what you feel is age appropriate for your children.
If you have sensitive little ones who are prone to worry, there’s no need to overwhelm them with added anxiety and information overload.
But I would definitely involve them when there is an issue that involves an empowering, age-appropriate action to take.
Take your kids with you when you go and vote.
Have them help you enter basic required information when you fill out an online petition.
Have them listen to a small clip of a podcast when the discussion is age-appropriate.
Last weekend, we hosted a local candidate running for city council. We opened our home up to the neighborhood and our local community. My daughter baked cookies for the event and both of my kids helped clean the house the day before.
This was a positive way for my children to see us being involved in our community.
A few years ago, Love 146 was raising funds to provide books for children who had survived child-trafficking. My kids and I participated in a book club, raised money, and contributed.
This was a way to feel empowered to make positive change through direct action. And receiving updates from Love 146 about the positive impact of the books was a powerful testament to how our actions make a significant change.
Involve your kids doing what you feel is appropriate. Do what you can with them, when you can.
This is a powerful way to raise compassionate kids!
6. unplug When You Need To
At times, we all need to take a break and walk away. This is true in all areas of life and is most definitely true when it comes to politics!
So when your head is spinning and you’re having trouble sleeping, UNPLUG.
Turn off your phone and all other devices.
Read something light.
Watch a comedy.
Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Once your energy has returned, you can reenter the information zone. But until then, take a break and rest.
Here is a quick recap of all resources mentioned:
Pantsuit Politics w/ Sarah & Beth
I Think You’re Wrong But I’m Listening: A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers
Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie Martin
I know how overwhelming it can feel to stay up to date with politics.
But I also believe that it is important to involve ourselves in sustainable and empowering ways. Fortunately, there are simple ways we can do this. We truly do have the power to make the world a kinder and more compassionate place!
Do you have any feedback or suggestions for additional resources. Let me know!
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