Self-care gets written a lot online in a lot of different ways. Most of the time self-care is positioned as something simple and aesthetic. Instead of taking a shower quickly, you instead take a bath with a $5 Lush bath bomb and sprinkle rose petals on top of the water so it’s more “intentional”. I don’t mean to invalidate this form of self-care, it just isn’t super functional for me.
I thought I’d use this post to provide my take on self-care I’m employing to improve my health in 2018 and improve my day-to-day resilience to stress and challenges.
Argue Less Online
I spent a lot of 2017 arguing with people online (I’m genuinely quite proud of the many roasts I’ve dished out). As I’ve gotten more confident expressing my beliefs, I speak out against inflammatory opinions more and more. This work is really really important to me as I believe that challenging oppressive and violent opinions is necessary to protect the humanity of myself and others.
However, I end up doing a lot of the emotional and intellectual lifting that comes with educating and challenging other’s opinions. Generally, it’s really frustrating process where I feel infuriated most of the time. Whenever people on Facebook/Twitter are calling things out, I notice that it’s primarily folks with marginalized identities doing most of the labor. I rarely, if ever see a person with a privileged identity doing any work (If you read my post, A Critique of Allyship you’ll know that one of my issues with allyship are that most ways it’s enacted are performative and many “allies” are not interested in doing the hard labor undoing racism/sexism/etc.).
It’s easy for me to feel like it’s my responsibility to challenge every and all poopy bad thing I see on Facebook, but in 2018 I’m not gonna do it. Instead I’m going to mind my own business so my blood pressure doesn’t raise and know that I’m not the only person who has a duty to improve the world around us. Instead I’m going to allow people who consider themselves to be “allies” to tag-in, instead of thinking that the responsibility is just on me. Hopefully that leads to a lot less stress.
Make Time for Hobbies
I want to dedicate more time to things that improve my quality of life and make me happier. It’s easy for me to get comfortable in passive activities like watching Youtube videos or Hulu for hours, only to realize that I haven’t done any of the things that I wanted to do for the day.
It’s important to make time for relaxing activities where I can space out, but it’s easy to forget how much joy I get from reading books (since I don’t do it) or writing because I don’t dedicate the time to it. My life feels much more enriching and livable when there are things beyond school and work to do. This year I’m excited to read a ton of books by mostly women of color to grow my exposure to WOC sci-fi/fantasy authors and to improve my own writing.
If you’re interested, here’s my planned reading list so far!
For a lot of women and non-binary people of color and folks with other marginalized identities, we are conditioned to not acknowledge our successes and to make ourselves small to accommodate the people around us.
Making myself small includes joking off my accomplishments, minimizing their significance, not allowing myself to be proud/happy, etc. I hope to be more comfortable with acknowledging my successes. If I’m feeling really fancy, I also want to learn to realize that my worth is not connected to success or the things I produce, but is something inherit within me.
Most importantly, I want to work really hard to limit the amount of negative self-talk that I engage in. I fixate a lot on perceived flaws/deficiencies, so I would like to work on focusing instead on the things I do well.
Organization in all aspects is a hope for 2018. I want my room to be tidy, my finances to be budgeted, and my life to make sense.
I hope that organizing will help to quell a lot of the stress and anxiety that I feel on a daily basis. Additionally, I want to get more organized to reach the goals that I have, specifically about saving money! As an adult my spending is sort of out of control, so I want to be more responsible/intentional with the money I have.
If you’re interested in how I’m staying organized in all aspects, I’m using Google calendar, a bullet journal, and YNAB (You Need a Budget) to get myself sorted.
Invest in Myself
I think the best way I can invest in myself is therapy. This year I really want to repair the unhealthy relationship that I’ve had with food for a lot of my life. I’ve committed to working out in the gym again to help the poor relationship I have with my body at the moment and meeting with a therapist who is also a nutritionist. I hope in 2018 to gain a healthier and balanced relationship with food and exercise that helps me feel more confident in myself.
Now a lot of these are gonna be things that take a lot of time because my self-care game is pretty weak for the most part, but I feel really encouraged at the moment.
What are self-care strategies you’re employing this year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Noireandco