i feel like as though lately i’m usually in self care mode. aside from the political moment we’re living in, i’m more focused on it now that i have more time post-phd (over exertion, anyone?). however, the concept is still something i’ve been working on since bell hooks taught me to love myself first. with this came the realization that i’m not doing right by me, my family, my friends, or my work if i’m not taking care of myself, my emotions, & my spirit. i acknowledge that we live in a society based in oppressive systems that work to maintain the status quo and break down marginalized people. as such, self care in this context isn’t meant to be a lifestyle or inspiration – it’s a practice i rely on to resist being broken down by the system. it is a political act à la audre lorde.
to me, self care is knowing & accepting myself without judgment. it’s understanding where i’m at & how i feel. it’s being able to peel back the layers so to speak & making the decision to nourish my body, mind, heart, and soul. self care is a commitment & an intentional practice. i began my journey by putting in work to clear my mind & unlearn deleterious patterns in my thinking, behaviour & relationships – all while learning how to listen to & care for myself. lemme tell ya, this was a process & it will continue to be one as healing is an ongoing journey. sometimes i struggle with not putting pressure on myself. for me, my intentions are to flow with life & to cultivate balance, peace, acceptance, and gratitude even in the face of historical & intergenerational trauma, pain, struggle, uncertainty, or chaos.
so what does it look like? my self care includes spending time alone resting or processing my thoughts & feelings (preferably with my plants lol). during me time, i ground myself & recharge the energy needed to connect with others in a meaningful way. sometimes it’s mindful isolation where i disconnect from interactions or situations that trigger me. other times it’s reaching out for support. just like our plants, we each have different needs & grow at our own pace.
ultimately, it’s so important to take time to be still, to live slow, & to reflect. in developing self-awareness, we become more compassionate towards ourselves & others. it may be hard at first but give it a go – even if it’s 10 minutes of deep breathing or stretching, releasing emotions, walking alone, connecting with your thoughts, or play, just do you 😽