Self-care during a challenging legislative session Skip to content

Self-care during a challenging legislative session

Exhausted from the turmoil and drama coming out of Frankfort? Us too. Here’s an excellent article with tips on dealing with it.

3 min read
Photo by Tim Goedhart / Unsplash

By Marcie Timmerman, Executive Director, Mental Health America of Kentucky

This legislative session has been emotional, strenuous, and fast-paced. It is important for all of us to make sure we take care of ourselves and each other during these difficult times. Here are some self-care tips that may help you get through it:

  • Be mindful of when and how you are spending your time and energy. What fuels you? What exhausts you? Are you doom-scrolling? Bored? Is there something more productive or restful you can do?
  • Put a time limit on your consumption of media. Decide carefully where, when, and how often you will consume media about any issues. Setting clear boundaries about when you’ll be discussing or giving time to an issue or an event or even the news in general is always a good idea. Pro Tip: TV News being on 24/7 in your house or workplace isn’t mentally healthy, no matter what’s happening!
  • “Do something.” Do what you can, how you can, and when you can. Taking action helps you feel more in control. Some ideas:
    • Contact your legislators about things that matter to you.
    • If you have some extra funds, there are some great nonprofits and campaigns that could use your $5 or $5,000 to help reach more people or rectify any wrongs enacted by the state government.
    • Don’t have money, but have time? Sign up to volunteer. Attend a rally.
    • Reach out to people in your life who are affected by legislation and let them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Unless you’re in GOP leadership, you are not personally responsible for bad policy decisions. Resist the urge to feel guilty for “not doing enough.” If you did something, no matter how small, you were part of the force for positive change. Work to change others around you for good. And make sure you VOTE, of course.
  • Feel “all the feels.” You could be feeling anger, grief, joy, or even numbness at any stage of this process. Notice and label your emotions, then accept them for what they are. Don’t bottle them up or dismiss them.
  • You can’t control others, but you can control yourself. Take a deep breath before reacting. There are a lot of big emotions going around and just taking a moment to form your thoughts in your mind first can help ensure your response is the one you want to live with, instead of one made in anger or grief that you might regret.
  • Forgive yourself for being human and having limitations. You’re going to make mistakes. You’ll have misplaced or differing priorities, say something wrong, or miss an email. Practicing self-forgiveness is crucial to overall mental wellness.
  • Celebrate the small wins. Take time to recognize and celebrate every single small step of the process that goes well. A good bill gets to committee? Celebrate. A bad bill gets a surprise no from an unlikely ally? Celebrate, and send them a thank you.
  • Rest. If you’ve been fighting all session with all you’ve got, it’s important to find time to rest – maybe after session, but still a time to rest. There’s a famous “parable of the choir” which reminds us that movements are made of many people. Like a choir, we take a breath at different moments. The chorus of voices can be loud and strong and persistent BECAUSE we take those breaths as individuals.

This isn’t comprehensive. No list of self-care tips can be. Not all of them will be what you need to hear or do. Setting boundaries and expectations for yourself and others in your life will always be worth the effort. YOU MATTER and you are worth taking care of.

For a more in-depth talk about self-care, and to download our Self-Care Action Plan, go to:

If this session is particularly hard, please know we’re here for you. 988 is available by phone or text. Trevor Project is another great resource. Or take a mental health screening at


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