“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” -Audre Lorde
Self-care is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”.
One key distinction to be made is the difference between self-care and self-comfort; the primary difference is that self-care is largely proactive, while self-soothing is more reactive. While self-care is the practice of growing and maintaining one’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, self-soothing is typically a method of distraction or immediate comfort in times of difficulty. and also provide knowledge and tools to promote community or institutional care. Many different movements, organizations, and authors have created resources to best support those working for a better future, a few of them can be found below.
In 2017, Black Lives Matter released a “Healing In Action Toolkit” for organizers to best understand the principle of healing justice and how to best implement it into local and personal action in alignment with the movement.
Capacitar Emergency Response Kit largely focuses on physical practices for stress reduction and general physical wellbeing. While these methods are largely reactive many can be implemented regularly to
Next, a blog post from Just Jasmine Blog provides a list of indicators of race-based trauma, as well as resources for people of color in taking care of themselves and promoting holistic wellbeing.
Another aspect of self-care for activists and all people, is a practice of and focus on mindfulness. Free resources to begin practicing mindfulness can be found all over the internet including on the UCLA Health website
A post from the blog, Compass Points Of View, explains what organizational self care is and provides tangible steps for implementation. The author, Marissa Tirona explains, “while it’s essential that we support individuals to care for themselves, we need to integrate comprehensive self-care strategies into our organizational policies, practices, and plans”.
Similarly to the resource directly above there are many resources explaining how self-care goes beyond the individual and community and institutional care can help build a culture of compassion. This post from the Network Weaver provides tangible steps for how community leaders can promote and implement community care.
One more aspect of self-care is recognizing that life and activism cannot be endured alone, and having the strength to reach out for help when necessary is beyond important. A compiled list of mental health resources in Sacramento
In times of uncertainty when everyone is impacted differently, everyone has different ways of implementing self-care and whatever works best on an individual basis can be beyond helpful to preventing burnout.