Self-care is a popular topic as of late, and most of us agree that it is very necessary. However, how do you find the time to practice self-care when you are a busy, passionate person dealing with the devastating effects of our current political climate? Read more about how Peer Educator, Sareil navigates the balance between student activism and self-care.
Balancing Student Activism & Self-Care
by Sareil Brookins
*Trigger Warning: Police Brutality, Death
Balancing one’s mental, physical, and emotional health can be even more overwhelming given the current political climate and current events. Opening up Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/etc. everyday and viewing fatal shootings by law enforcement, violent outbreaks at a protest, or homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist (the list can go on) language from those darn friends, family, and acquaintances you have can be so very detrimental to your mental and emotional well being. Cumulatively, the work you do as an activist, and the amount of time you spend reading, hearing, and watching ignorance spewed can take a toll on you.
This is where self-care comes into play…and no it does not make you selfish to practice it.
Self-care comes in many, many, many, many forms. You probably already practice self-care unknowingly. For example, that one time you achieved getting more than 5 hours of sleep? DAS SELF-CARE. Or that other time you did that assignment way before the due date, and then had time to take care of yo’self? DAS SELF-CARE. I’m sure you can think of at least one time you took care of yourself, but may not have viewed it as self-care. Nevertheless, there are endless possibilities for balancing your self-care, here is a list of self-care practices to try out:
- When social media becomes too much (too violent, draining, triggering) EXIT ASAP, just take a break
- Celebrate the little victories
- When you wake up, say 3 things outloud that you will accomplish
- Learn something new (every day, once a week, etc.)
- Forgive yourself
- Make a list of things you love about yourself & post it where you will notice it every day
- Listen to music that brings warmth to your soul
- Take a nice, long, hot (or warm, whatever you prefer) shower
- Embrace nature that surrounds you
- Practice breathing exercises
- Take naps when needed
- Hug someone you love (friend, family member or partner) for 12-15 seconds—studies show this boosts immune system function and prompts the release of calming hormones.
- Let yourself cry if you need to (I’m still working on this)
- Binge watch one of your favorite TV shows, vlogger, movie series, etc.
- Practice daily grounding exercises
- Call someone… who just gets you
All in all, self-care is key, it’s not selfish, and it is very necessary to succeed and balance your health and activism. Keep up the work you do. When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. Pat yo’self on the back. Remind yourself you will make mistakes, but will grow and learn from them.
Love yo’self. Treat yo’self. That is all.