How to Cope When Things Look Bleak

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I recently sent this letter out to my newsletter subscribers (if you’re not on my list, you can easily subscribe on my homepage!) – I thought I’d post here since these are trying times, and we all need to feel more empowered.

These are crazy times. Stressful times, uncertain times. It’s safe to say that our entire nation is feeling the shockwaves from Tuesday’s election results. No matter who you voted for, it’s a different world out there today, and it feels like we’re a nation divided.

I did a lot of thinking yesterday. I was sad, confused, shocked, scared… and I felt guilt for bringing my daughter into a world where the future looks so uncertain, when there are people in positions of tremendous power and influence who deny climate change, who want to oppress individuals based on the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual preference… what sort of problems am I leaving her to deal with? I cried just thinking about it.

And then, I decided to change course. I opted to stop worrying and to channel my energies and anxieties into something positive, something that I really care about, and something that will hopefully make a big difference in this world – that “thing” is my work as a vegan chef. I see myself as more than a chef – in reality, as much as I love cooking and feeding people and reaping the benefits of a healthy diet, I love animals more. And I love our beautiful planet Earth. I don’t want to have any hand in harming either, directly or indirectly, and I want to spread a message of compassion and awareness and activism far and wide, to as many people as I’m capable of reaching. I’m so fortunate that I’ve found a career that allows me to simultaneously indulge in my passion for food and health, but also gives me a platform – however small – to encourage change in care for our planet and all of its creatures, large and small.

So today, I’m not going to stare at CNN.com or obsess over the next 4 years and what it might mean for our country. Instead, I’m going to renew my vow to be a voice for the voiceless and bring light to their needless suffering, and to use my work as a vehicle for bringing awareness to the massive effects your diet can have on the climate. I don’t feel helpless – I feel empowered. I’m going to do my personal part to make this world a better place for my child and younger generations to come, and to show her that women don’t have to be marginalized, that you don’t have to be a politician to shape our country and our world. I can make an impact, and an important one at that. Fear and uncertainty shouldn’t make anyone feel powerless – it should be the driving force behind action. Take some time today to figure out what you really care about – the issues that keep you up at night, that have the power to bring you to tears – that’s your responsibility as a citizen and individual, to try and make change where it counts, even if it’s on a small scale. Writing a check and donating money is great, but committing your precious time and energy is where the real magic happens, and you’ll feel a greater sense of personal satisfaction when you actually walk the walk. We’re not helpless. We’re agents of change.

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