Emotional Health · Politics

The Wednesday Five: Self-Care Edition

Last November, Dr. Cecilia Ford implored us to take care of our emotional and mental health as we recovered from a brutal and divisive election period. Now that we’ve come through January, the inauguration of a new president, and a 24-hour news cycle culture that leaves one reeling from the incessant “breaking news,” Ford’s heed to preserve our sanity is even more necessary. No surprise then that the notion of “self-care” has taken on a new life. Here are some of the best pieces of advice (and humor) on self-care in a time of chaos that we’ve come across this week.


The New York Times

5 Ways to Take a Self-Care Vacation b

Immerse yourself in nature. There’s nothing more relaxing than being surrounded by nature. Hearing the sound of crashing waves or chirping birds and insects, taking in a beautiful vista on a pristine lake, smelling the flowers of a tropical garden or feeling the warmth of the sunshine on your skin stimulate the senses in a positive way and take you away from the hubbub of your daily life. Spend your days on a nature-focused trip, going on hikes, bike rides and walks, or consider kayaking, fishing, horseback riding or snowshoeing. Suggested destinations: Lake Kora in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York; the Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Mont.; Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia; Minaret Station on South Island in New Zealand.



Take A Break from the News by L.V. Anderson

Stop refreshing Twitter and reading the news. In times of geopolitical crisis, it’s tempting to deride discussion of self-care by those of us lucky enough not to be personally affected by conflict. . . But self-care is not about self-indulgence. It’s about pragmatism. People cannot take useful political action—whether organizing their communities, going to protests, or calling their representatives—if they are feeling burned out, overwhelmed, or paralyzed. When we take care of ourselves, we are investing in our ability to meaningfully resist injustice.


Bon Apetit

Body Scrubs, Feather Robes, and Other Failed Experiments in Self-Care by Jenna Wortham

There’s power in small rituals. In the 1990s, the performance artist Marina Abramovic taught a series of student workshops called “Still Life.” They included exercises like complaining to a tree and walking backward while holding a mirror. My favorite of the bunch instructs participants to “do everything very slowly: walking, drinking water, showering,” infusing a kind of mindfulness to everyday activities, which in turn, is a kind of meditation. I still struggle with meditating, but Abramovic’s directives feel like baby steps in that direction. I go slow when I can, cherishing the walk each morning to get coffee on my way to work, lingering in the sun and noticing the clean, brisk air. It’s surprising how well it works: Somehow, even that tiny routine helps steady me for the million things that lie ahead each day.


The New Yorker

A Post-Election Self-Care Diary by Catherine Mevs

Week Nine: January 4, 2017
I’m making a vision board for the next four years. It feels cheesy even as I do it, but isn’t our President-elect the perfect example of the power of manifesting what you believe? His Presidential vision board must have truly been on point.

Week Ten: January 11, 2017
Winter is coming.

Week Eleven: January 18, 2017
The universe is telling me to pick up a megaphone, download a bitmoji of me holding a megaphone, and go to Washington, D.C.! I’m all about following Her commands. But, because Her decisions of late have been questionable, first I have to make sure that this Megabus to D.C. will actually have Wi-Fi.


Well and Good

Feminism and Self Care Should Go Hand-in-Hand by Meena Harris

Corral your community. When it comes to creating real change, it really does take a village. I miss the days of huddling up in the Harvard Law library to study with my girlfriends. If we weren’t collaborating in groups, we were always working side-by-side—and I now realize what a loss it is to enter the working world, where that’s not a common practice.

If your job provides such flexibility, take a day or even just a morning to work from a coffee shop with others (or look into coworking spaces). Also, remember to keep quality, uninterrupted time on your schedule with your family and friends—nothing refuels me more than recuperating with loved ones.

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