It’s been rough, y’all! This year is already shaping up to give 2016 a run for it’s money. I see us all pushing & bucking against the worst of it, but please, please understand that before you can be or do anything for anybody or anything else you must preserve yourself. Get you some self-care.
People talk about being selfish, but I know that what some people call selfish is many times essential. That means taking some time for yourself has to happen at regular intervals or you’re useless to not only yourself, but everybody else. The more you take from your own mouth to give to others the quicker you starve & now both of you are done for. I don’t care what labels have been assigned to you; mother, father, sister, brother, bestfriend, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, if you don’t have it then there’s nothing for anybody. Love is investment in someone’s survival & a desire that they have the best in any & all ways they can. If you aren’t sowing into yourself in a way that only you can, you can’t be best for anyone else either.
Mind you, self-care does not need to come at the expense of others. It doesn’t mean, “Well I want it & so that’s all that matters”. You know when you’re lacking on something that you can’t even explain, so it’s of course unfair to look to anybody else for it because why should they understand anymore than you? It is at those times that you must find some way to recooperate. Especially as adults. If you’re not being bludgeoned by adulthood congratulations on being a unicorn. I know for most us, it is beating us bloody. Especially with what we find ourselves fighting with lately. We’re all woke, which is beautiful, but being woke is exhausting & demands some time to withdraw & deal before we can absorb anymore. It’s one of the side effects of having so much information at our fingertips.
One major step in self-care for me has been designating at least one day a week to unplugging. No social media, no news. It’s my way of stepping back from everything & making sure that I remain in touch with my own sanity. Another major tool in my self-care is art. Music, literature, TV, & films. The album A Seat At The Table by Solange has been a major help. I allow myself to be absorbed into things that can take me outside of myself & my current state. The feeling of binge-watching a show or the movies in the queue on streaming apps or losing yourself in your playlists or in the world inside of a book can be such a relief. You come out of it feeling fresh & able to face the outside world.
Do not overload yourself with too much information. If you feel yourself getting upset, take a breather. Find a positive, constructive outlet. Write, journal, work out, spend time with family & friends, or play games. Be it mentally or physically, engage in something that you can put your hands on. Explore the world. So many of us are caught up in our routines & only go to the same places over & over again. Go to a museum or a gallery or a new restaurant. Go to those places you’ve been meaning to go to or wanting to try. If you can afford it take a vacation. Learn how to do something new. Be it a language or panting or knitting or building things, just get into something that makes you feel good. Mental health is so important. Our mind is the foundation for everything we do. We have to keep it right.
If you feel yourself being overwhelmed or that you may need to talk to someone, do it. If you don’t have anyone in your life who you feel comfortable speaking with, find somewhere that you can express & be heard. Maybe a support group, perhaps a therapist (you’re local college probably has grad student in psychology that need to accumulate free hours), maybe even just an online forum. Don’t ignore it, it will not get better on it’s own. It’s just going to build up until it forces itself out in some unhealthy way. Everything in your life that you intend for prolonged use you keep up. Your car, where you live, your clothes, everything you want to continue to use. You have to think of your mind & body in the same way. You are going through your whole life with these things. You have to enact self-care if you want to be around for the long haul. Stress is a bastard. A silent, sneaky little devil. It makes everything worse. I’m not saying stop stressing completely, that’s not a thing. Just take some breaks in it so that you don’t lose your mind or your life to hypertension.
Ultimately it just comes down to having some kind of joy & enjoyment in life. You are not just working to get to work some more. You are not just struggling because that’s what people do. There has to be some point where you feel at least on some level like it’s worth it. Don’t get too caught up in the drudgery of it all. I get it, leisure is a luxury that many people can’t afford. It’s great if you can take a vacation or a road trip, but some can’t afford it. At the same time you cannot afford not to have some level of self-care. Everything is up in the air, I can feel hopelessness taking over many spaces. There is still beauty & goodness in the world. We have to know that for ourselves & for each other. Do whatever you can to grab some joy, even just for a little while. You don’t want to get to be older & feel like you should have done more to enjoy yourself. Have some fun. Be silly. Shoutout to those of you out there fighting the good fight. I love it. I’m with you. But if yo’ure going to be effective, you are going to have to recharge yourselves. Self-care, y’all. Take some & call me in the morning.