In a time of deep, civil unrest (not to mention a pandemic), self-care has perhaps never been so important. You might brush off a morning meditation or virtual get-together with a simple thought: There are more important things to be focusing on right now. And you’re right—there are.
But that doesn’t mean you should let self-care fall through the cracks. To help you heal while you fight for social justice, here are 4 ways you can practice self-care—according to registered dietitian Maya Feller.
Make time for self-reflection and breathe: Picture the anti-racism movement as a never-ending cycle of sorts: You shift from learning and listening to doing the necessary work to taking time to reflect and breathe. Take it from Feller, who says we should “create the space to learn, unlearn, and find a deep spiritual practice in a calm way.” That doesn’t happen if you’re constantly in a headspace of go, go, go. It’s OK to take time for your breath; in fact, it’s essential for keeping the anti-racism movement strong. Honest self-reflection is one of the core tenets of acting in allyship, anyway.
Check-in on those who lift you up: While gatherings of people are on hold for the time being, stay in contact with close friends and confidantes by calling every week. You might be helping that person keep their spirits up while you get comfort from the social connection. Ground yourself—literally:
To find refuge in a sometimes overbearing world, Feller now takes the time to ground herself, quite literally: “I try to find stillness by spending time in the grass, taking my shoes off, and spending time planting or gardening.” It’s no question that nature has profound effects on our mental (and physical!) health as well; even something so simple as walking barefoot in the grass can help you feel more connected to the earth.
Start small: Similar to many other experts, Feller believes big change can and will happen from smaller actions. In fact, starting small can help you feel less overwhelmed about tackling the entire issue; again, it takes endurance; dismantling an inherently racist system doesn’t happen overnight. “Look at your direct sphere and circle. Have you had a conversation with your family and neighbors? How can you affect the teams you work with?” Feller notes. “That’s how we really start to affect and see change.”