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Self-Care 101

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October 9, 2013

Self care, it’s mandatory. It’s as easy and simple as it sounds, caring for yourself. But one thing I’ve noticed is that women and activists are terrible at self care. If that woman also happens to be an activist, forget it. Women  are socialized to put the needs and wants of everybody ahead of their own. I don’t need to tell you that that is not cool. Activists, being the empathetic, caring do-gooders we are, are great at doing good by everyone else except ourselves. But here’s the thing, you can’t save the world if you’re not taking proper care of yourself. Sometimes, self care can be the most radical, revolutionary thing a person can do. My hero, the late Audre Lorde had this to say on the subject  “caring for myself is not self indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” There’s an art of self care, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Learn to say NO: I know, I know you love to help. You won the most helpful award three years in a row in high school. But really, you’ve gotta say no sometimes, especially you ladies. The way girls and women are socialized means we have a hard time saying no. Sometimes we don’t know how to say no and for that I blame society. Don’t like saying those two letters? How about saying “I need a timeout” or take a page from Walt’s book and tell people you have rather explosive diarrhea and therefore today’s not the day to play Nancy Drew. “Activism may be the rent you pay for living on the planet” but earth is not going to kick you out if you take a few days or even months off.

2. Rest: You know what’s better than getting your school district to adopt comprehensive, inclusive and medically accurate sex ed? Nothing! That was a trick question, but getting rest is a close second. Rest is different from saying no. You can say no and still be active, on the go, doing other things because you’re a badass like that. However, rest is total and complete shutdown. Rest is unplugging your electronics and getting some shut eye. Rest is sitting in your comfy chair and daydreaming. Rest is anything that requires you to not be anywhere or do anything for anyone. Rest is masturbation. Rest is turning your brain off and not engaging with anyone at all because you deserve it dammit. If Olivia Pope can do it, so can you.

3. Water: Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Who does that? Is that even healthy? What I do want you to do is to stay hydrated, no I don’t mean gatorade.  Drink some water, your body and brain will thank you.

You’re not the energizer bunny, you can’t keep going and going going so take some time out and care for yourself. And then come right back, you don’t expect the baby seals to save themselves do you?

 

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