Like Erin, for the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we, as feminists and reproductive health, rights, and justice activists engage in radical self-care practices.
As a young working professional who recently graduated from college, I’ve been thinking of ways to get reconnected to the self-care practices I engaged in as a college student. All too often we, as activists, say “yes” when we truly need a break and walk daily with the emotional stressors of activist work bearing on our shoulders. My work as an activist, organizer, and educator is directly tied to ME, my body, my identity, but can oftentimes lend itself to burnout. Thus, I’ve come up with some tips for us young activsts (and activists of any other age) to practice self-care while remaining true to our values:
1. Learn to say “No”
Learning to say no is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a form of self-love. I’m sure there are tons of us out there who love to say yes and, oftentimes, in doing so bite off a lot more than we can chew. Let’s learn to say “no,” so that when we do say “yes” we are bringing our best selves to that task.
2. Feed Your Soul
When I say “feed your soul” I don’t only mean feed your soul with soothing music and journaling. Feed your soul with nourishing foods that do well by you and by your body. Feed your soul with intellectual conversations and with relationships that build you up, not break you down.
3. Get In Touch With Your Inner Child
The inner child in you is still alive, you just have to coax it out (if you don’t already). The inner child in you would want your adult self to have some fun. Go play tag with your significant other or friends. Jump on your bed just because you can. Color a picture in a coloring book!
4. Feed Your Creative Energy
I recently read a quote that said, “just because you can’t dance well, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.” Dance if you feel like it! If you can’t paint, go paint a picture anyway, just for the hell of it! Go outside and take a picture of nature…or take a picture of yourself at weird Myspace angles. JUST DO IT.
5. Clear your life of clutter
I’m guilty of it–physical clutter, emotional clutter, all of it. Look, if it’s not sentimental to you, you’re not going to use it, or you don’t care for it, regift that shit! If you’re holding onto things that remind you of a painful time in your life, let it go and let go of that emotional clutter and pain.
6. Savor the Moment
Savor the moment in your relationships, friendships, and hobbies. In one moment, savor that time and focus your energy and thinking on it and nothing else.
7. Continue creating change
As activists, we inherently practice self-care as we work to heal our communities from external stressors and toxic factors. Continue to do your activist work so that, through healing your community, you heal yourself.
These are my my thoughts on how to engage in self-care as a radical activist. How do you, as activists, maintain your sanity through radical self-care?