“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde
Self-Care is important. Full stop.
Things self-care is:
- a chance to recharge or reboot
- a reminder that your health is important
- a chance to treat yourself
- an important break from the world
Things self-care is not:
- attention seeking behaviour
- a sign that you’re a failure
- something that can be dictated to you by anyone else
The world is a shitty place, and lately more and more horrible things are being broadcast and spread around the globe. And whilst it is important that we stand up and do our bit to fight systems of oppression, it is also important to look after yourself.
You won’t do anyone any good if you are burnt out and pushing on out of stubbornness. In fact, this isn’t only harmful to you, but also most likely the cause you are fighting for: someone who is burnt out and angry is more likely to say something harmful or that could land them in serious trouble.
Self-care can take many forms:
- logging off of the internet for a set period of time
- reading a comfort book/watching a comfort film/listening to music you love
- taking a nap
- taking a bath
- going for a walk/to the gym
- talking to someone close about non-heavy topics
- playing video games
- having a good meal
- many more
This last one is important, because crying is actually a really good thing to do. It helps relieve tension, helps with pushing out emotions, and often tires you out if you really need to sleep. Society still puts too much emphasis on being stoic and not letting your emotions out, and that just isn’t healthy in the slightest.
All of the things listed above may seem like really simple ideas, but the point of self-care is you show yourself some love and attention, and do something that you really enjoy. It can be hard to do this without feeling guilty, because those of us in places of privilege should know that we may be safe and have a safe space to do these things in that others don’t, but it is important to look after yourself.
Mental health issues are another important factor to look at. There is nothing shameful about holding your hands up and saying “sorry, my depression/anxiety/dysphoria/whatever else isn’t letting me function properly today, I need to take a step back”. If you don’t, chances are others won’t notice anything is up (this is especially an issue with the online world we inhabit these days), and they will continue to push you past your limits, causing much more serious problems in the long run. Learn your limits, and stick to them.
As the quote at the beginning of the post says, self-care is just as important as fighting when it comes to taking down systems of oppression. You need to be at your best to help, and you can’t do that unless you look after yourself.
Here are some more links with helpful information:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are resources I myself have found helpful/enlightening.
Be good to yourselves. You’re more than worth it.