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Self-Care During Stressful Times


Even experienced political commentator and television host Rachel Maddow is overwhelmed these days with the rapid fire news being reported every single day.

All around us, every day, we are hearing about human and environmental rights being threatened: groups of people being targeted, abused and used as political pawns; stories of sexual assaults; stories of trans members of our community being killed. The list goes on. Absorbing all of this news can be difficult. And, being an activist during these times can mean experiencing an even higher level of stress and anxiety.

How does one cope and remain healthy during a time of upheaval and constant threats? Taking time for self-care is imperative.

Sarah Mirk, on BitchMedia, recalls how social activist Angela Davis ended one speech.

“Davis said that the biggest thing she had learned from the youth of today was self-care. ‘Self-care has to be incorporated in all of our efforts. And this is something new,’ she said. “This holistic approach to organizing is, I think, what is going to eventually move us along the trajectory that may lead to some victories.”

The article, “Audre Lorde Thought of Self-Care as an Act of Political Warfare,” discusses the race, gender, and class dynamics behind the concept of “self-care.”

“In the United States, women report higher rates of stress in their lives than men and people of color report higher rates of stress than white people—there are a lot of factors for why, including the stress of racism and discrimination.”

In the East Bay Express, author Ferron Salniker shared how women of color and queer people are making alternative health-care practices accessible to the community, and how it is a part of their activism.

“I like using the word ‘self-preservation’ — it’s more of a radical, Black-centered way of talking about self-care that doesn’t make you think of trendy juice bars or a spa,” says Emanne Desouky in the article.

How you decide to administer self-care is highly personal, but you may find ideas and tips from others that can help.

For instance, Goodful on Buzzfeed offers tips from LGBT people on “how to be a little more OK….when it feels like the world is on fire.” Their tips are light-hearted and, for the most part, assessible – from baking in your skivvies to starting a blog to jamming to queer musicians.

Everyday Feminism has some great ideas in this “self-care for woke folks” article, like: consider getting rid of that news app, allow yourself to say no, disengage from social media, and treat yourself like you are going through a breakup.

Go Mag offers this list of advice for LGBT community around self-care:

  1. Physical self-care – take care of your body
  2. Community care – get together with others, to talk non-politics, or to learn more about what others are doing around resistance work.
  3. Find a creative outlet – find an escape and dive into your creative side
  4. It’s OK to walk away from a conversation that is anti-LGBTQ
  5. Join your local LGBTQ center

And to #5, we say, we wholeheartedly agree! Become a volunteer at the SF LGBT Center, attend an event or a workshop, or just come visit our lobby art gallery. We know that being part of a community can make us healthier and happier, so we hope we can be part of your self-care.
Stay safe, stay strong, stay healthy, and take care of yourselves!

(Photo: Sam Judson/Flickr)

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