How Members of Congress Keep Calm in the Age of Trump

“Go gaze upon the ocean and take in it’s vastness. Go hold some babies. But seriously, do something that helps put it all in perspective.​”

Serving as a Democrat in Congress during the Trump era seems like the most stressful job in the world to me, but Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison tells me it’s not so bad. “If you’re a firefighter, if you’re an air traffic controller, if you’re a mom, you have more stress than me,” he told me over the phone in November. “I have access to food, clothes, and shelter every day. I should not try to claim any kind of victimhood at all.”

That doesn’t mean to suggest that the congressman is immune from stress. “Self-care in the age of Trump is very important,” he said, explaining that the president incites “a level of chaos” that can be disorienting. The way he copes? Eating right, meditation, and prayer.

“I’m a praying person,” Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, told me. “I’m not trying to promote religion,” he clarified, but if whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu and going to services “satisfies your heart, then do that, and don’t let it go, don’t get too busy to do it.” If you don’t observe any of those religions, “then go in nature and just remember by looking at a mountain that there’s greater more wondrous things out there than what’s happening in the news everyday.”

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