Self-Care: Putting Yourself First

I have drafted this article several times over the past few days while experiencing a wide range of emotions. No matter how difficult it may be to utter these words, Donald Trump will be the President of the United States of America in January. Now we need to practice solid allyship in which we educate and organize in support of one another. Activism is not only protesting on the street. Activism is daily, it is educating each other, it is providing a safe space in every room we enter, and it is holding people accountable. However, before any of that, we need to practice self-care.

“Self-care” is a self-initiated process in which the individual takes time to ensure that their health, mental or otherwise, is maintained. In other words, it is a personal process in which you do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Drink a cup of tea at dawn, have a drink with loving friends, call your parents for a conversation, set up a date with your bed or write. As a professor of mine once said “by the time you realize you’re tired, it’s too late.” Self-care is not a process you only go through every time you feel sad, rather it is something you should practice consistently, whether daily or weekly, because by the time you admit that you need to take care of yourself, you will find that you have been emotionally vulnerable for some time beforehand. Do what you need to do to revive yourself so that you can carry on.

I speak of allyship but I do not wish for it to be romanticized. Conversations about power, privilege, and marginalization are difficult and riddled with people speaking down to  you, or dismissal of lived experiences. In some circumstances, triggering material may be confronted. These conversations are difficult but necessary and for these conversations to continue you need to be healthy in body and spirit.

In a time where the pervading mindset states that we must work ourselves to the bone and then some, when your existence is political, self-care becomes a revolutionary act. A statement is made when you reject the world’s nonsense by taking time to energize and love yourself. You are saying that you will not be another casualty of a system that wishes for you to remain silent and downtrodden.

Take care of yourself, know that I am not just saying these words, I mean them. Take care of yourself because you deserve to be in good health. Allow yourself to experience emotion whether you mourn, rage, laugh, or cry. You are a living being and you are allowed to be complicated and wild. Take care of yourself. Always.

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