10 things I’m doing to cope with Brexit

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Brexit tipped the dominos. Politics are in turmoil. Family and friends have fallen out. My anger and sadness at the outcome still sits with me, I don’t imagine that will change. Like it or not we are now in a Brexit Britain.

At the most basic, the UK faces upheaval and expense as an outcome of the referendum. Policy and legislation must be reviewed and re-written. Lengthy trade negations entered into. The economy has much to contend with. Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of England presented his honest and expert opinion and this isn’t going to be easy. He is the expert I’m listening to.

If we get away without recession, we will be very lucky. The vote leave camp presents a rosy future somewhere down the line. 10 years. 20 years. A far off land of plenty, apparently reachable without a map or a plan.

To the leavers, whose response is “stop whinging”. I’m waiting for coherent argument, a plan. I’ve looked, believe me. In the meantime, I’ll whinge if I want to.

At the weekend a friend told me how she’d been racially abused whilst at work “when you lot go home”. After days of feeling angry, I’d reached a point of relative calm, the anger returned and burned harder. I’m angry and ashamed that people who call themselves British behave like this. Hate born of stupidity. Her rights to live here are as secure as those that made the comment. A rise in hate crime is, I think, worth “whinging” about.

I’m not going to just accept the new Britain I find myself in, I have my child’s future to be concerned with. However, I also need to adjust and find a calm. These some of the things I’m doing to cope with life post Brexit.

10 things I'm doing to cope with Brexit

1. Get into nature, put my phone in the bottom of my bag and go for a walk, the woods or the park. Get amongst the green and take some deep breaths.

2. Read a good book. At the end of last year I went through a phase of feeling really anxious, when I asked for advice a lovely person suggested “getting lost in a good book”. True.

3. A social media detox. Maybe scale it back for a few days. Unfollow/unfriend those people whose posts offend or irritate. This is the moment to accept differences and cut losses. It’s only social media. If someone was sitting in your house spilling words that annoyed you, you’d ask them to leave, wouldn’t you?

4. Bake for a neighbour. My neighbour suggested we bake our Polish neighbours a cake. There has been so much negative coverage of EU migrants, sometimes it’s good to offer small good neighbourly vibes.

5. Write to my MP. I’ve done this and it reduced my feelings of powerless. A practical step. I think it’s important those in power continue to hear clearly how people feel and keep that in their focus. 52% voted to leave. 48% voted to remain. That is not a landslide. 4% is not a sizeable majority.

6. Join the Craftivist Collective.  Craft is absorbing and distracting. Craftivist collective is a new discovery: “We believe a true Craftivist uses craft as a tool for gentle activism aimed at influencing long-term change.” I sent for a pack. Gentle tools for deeper messages.

10 things I'm doing to cope with Brexit

10 things I'm doing to cope with Brexit

10 things I'm doing to cope with Brexit

7. Avoid social media debates. In my experience, a debate on social media rarely changes hearts or minds. Tempting as it is to challenge someone via a comment, it rarely ends well.

8. Together we are stronger. Another friend suggested organising an EU themed picnic. At times like this it is good to gather with similar minded souls. There continues to be other events; a London picnic and gatherings in cities across the UK.

9. My social media activity spiked to an all time high in the days after the referendum. I bitterly regret not campaigning harder before hand. I will continue to share information, I will continue to read what others share, knowledge is power, in an uncertain world understanding matters.

10. This is not the end, why should it be? There will be protracted negotiations, legislation maybe scrapped and changed. There are question marks over the longterm future of EU nationals currently living and working here, those people need our support. Pressure on Government must continue, the momentum should continue. You don’t have to be part of a party to make your voice heard, anyone can write to their MP. Anyone can attend an event to show solidarity. Anyone can apply pressure to Government by signing a petition. There are numerous ways. It is up to us to have a hand in shaping the future.

10 things I'm doing to cope with Brexit


  1. Karen Barlow

    I love your passion and fully agree with everything you have said here.Unfortunately although everybody on our family who was able to vote, used their vote, I know so many that didn’t, particularly younger people who just presumed we would stay in. I know people I work with that are no longer speaking because of opinions they voiced on social media and that’s the problem here, so many people with so many opinions and very little knowledge of what they’re opinionated about. It’s very very sad that we can’t be one Europe any more and I worry also for my children that opportunities will no longer be available so easily for them. I wish we could have another referendum and I feel sure that the vote would go very differently if we did. Hindsight is a bitter pill to swallow. 2016 is turning into a s*** year on so many levels!

  2. Emma

    Love your coping plan Gemma. Someone once told me that when things get too much, get outside. It honestly helps in a grounding kind of way. I have found staying off social media in general has helped me so much recently anyway, there’s just so much unnecessary negativity on things like FB…

  3. Agne

    Thank you Gemma for sharing your thoughts about Brexit. I had so much anxiety lately, because I didn’t know how to cope after UK voted to leave EU. I am originally from Lithuania and I live here in the UK for over 6 years. I’ll take your advice and do some crafts to cope with my anxiety. Thank you

    1. helloitsgemma

      The uncertainty of Brexit is very hard, and I imagine much harder if you are not originally from the UK. You have come here, made a life and all that is thrown into question, it must be an anxious time. I think it will take years and years before there are concrete outcomes. Many, many people don’t want to see huge change, the vast majority of people appreciate and welcome other nationalities into the UK. I am so sorry you are feeling so anxious, I find that focussing on the small things, doing things you enjoy or that are distracting – really helps. Thank you for commenting.

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