Self-Care is a form of activism.
I know it seems a little far fetched, the idea that self-care is a radical act.
That’s what they want you to think.
They want you to be exhausted and overwhelmed.
Political fatigue is a real thing.
Activism fatigue is a real thing, too.
When you’re too drained to take care of yourself, you are also too drained to take on the world.
Put it another way: if you’re not taking care of your own needs, how can you possibly help others in need?
If you want to be able to fight back against injustice, stand up to those who wish to oppress others, and stand with those who are being unfairly persecuted, you need to have a deep reservoir of wellness, self-care, and good health.
Fighting the good fight will wear you out.
Running on empty is not a position of power.
I know, because I’ve lived most of my life from this place.
Or you could look at this meme:
There are 2 kinds of people. People who constantly keep their tank full and people who are always seeing how far they can go on fumes.
My observation has been that moms tend to fall into the second category.
Even before I was a mom, I was more of a “running on fumes” sort of a person. I’d wear myself out trying to be everywhere and everything all at once. I’d stay up late and wake up early. I’d burn my candle at both ends.
When I was younger, the consequences were minimal, because I was young, relatively healthy, and also a little oblivious because I was dangerously disconnected from my body and my inner experience. However, when I did finally take a break, usually during the holidays or when I had any sort of downtime, I would always get really sick. So sick that I could barely move for days, effectively destroying my time off.
Lately, I’ve been trying to shift my story.
I want to be the person who always has a full tank.
I don’t want to be so depleted that I can’t actually enjoy my life.
I don’t want to be so exhausted that I don’t have the energy to do battle with my demons, whether they re internal or external.
I don’t want to be so worn down that I don’t have the energy to stand up for the values I believe in. I don’t want to just hope that someone else will do the work because I can’t. I want to be able to be in the trenches as a mother and an activist. I want to be a force of positive, lasting change in the world.
For that reason I have committed myself to daily self-care.
Self-care doesn’t have to be big. Self-care doesn’t have to be fancy.
Self-care can be a 10-minute nap or a cuddle with my kids.
Self-care might be taking a brief media fast or setting clearer boundaries around the time I spend online.
Self-care is simply taking exceptional care of yourself, so that you can take exceptional care of the world around you and the people in the world you care about.
Here are a few simple ways to keep your tank full:
~Move your body every day, for at least 15 minutes.
~Connect with people you love OFFLINE.
~Make time for reflection. This can be meditation or journaling or just sitting with your eyes closed and letting your mind roam.
~Go outside, even if it’s cold or rainy or both.
~Massage your feet.
~Eat foods that are fresh, healthy, and delicious.
~Give yourself a hug (use these fantastic instructions from Katy Bowman). Then give someone else a hug.
~Complete this sentence: “today I am grateful for_________”
Commit to one of these simple self-care practices daily (or come up with your own to do daily). Once you’ve gotten really good at adding the first self-care act in, add more to your tank. Observe how you fortify yourself from the inside out and feel more connected, strong, and supported as a result!
If you want to commit more deeply to your own self-care, join my upcoming Spring Into Self-Care program, beginning March 20th. You’ll receive daily suggestions and support to learn how to create stronger, significant self-care that will change your life.
If you sign up by March 1st, I will donate 50% of your registration to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), so that while you are taking great care of yourself, you will also be taking care of Mama Earth.