Self-care as prevention, not intervention

Hey. It's us. Checkin’ in.

How is everyone doing in terms of maintaining an above-average level of sanity while dealing with even more uncertainty this week?

Yeah, us too.

One thing that this election has us pondering is the importance of self-care not just as a tool to quell an immediate emotional need, but rather as a workout to consistently build that muscle for when the big day comes (that time when you need it the most).

We love seeing the topic of “self-care” go viral, becoming something of a buzzword in the wellness industry and even the fashion, service and tech industries and for good reason.

What we want to encourage is the idea that self-care (ie. setting boundaries, resting, exercising) isn’t just something you do after the fact although please do it then, and as often as you can. Self-care is something that we do all year, all month, all week so that when adversity or anxiety comes our way, we are padded and ready for it like a fully-trained and carbed-up QB.

Of course, we can practice self-care and still pop out of our emotional safe zone like a lit match at a gas station, but the explosion might be a little quieter than the last, or maybe with just less of a mess to clean up. (Apologies, am I right?)

These routines, rituals and practices are what builds our resilience. So think of it as a daily vitamin. You don’t save the vitamin for after you get sick, you take it daily so you can build your immune system and deal with a snotty cold rather than a flatlining flu.

Here are some fresh takes on self-care that you can start now, preparing you for whatever next dumpster fire 2020 decides to serve us:

  1. Look for five good things that happen each day and share them with a friend. Challenge them to send you five back.

  2. Watch bloopers from your favorite TV show (a wildly underrated activity). We recommend "The Office" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

  3. Say NO when you’re too tired. Being overworked is not honorable, the world needs you to rest. (Please follow @thenapministry for more on rest as a form of activism).

  4. Mute the news cycle during the day. Give yourself a designated time of day to catch up, then let it go and look at the life that's in front of you. Scrolling all day isn’t staying informed, it's following the opinions of thousands of people and that’s exhausting. Save your energy and keep your news consumption limited to 30 minutes in the morning, at night or split it up over two 15-minute periods a day. Find an amount of time that works for you. When you start to feel like your chest is tightening or you can’t look away, then it's time to switch off.

  5. Be gentle with yourself. Have compassion if you forgot to set aside intentional time for yourself today. Carve out 10 minutes to do something that feels good tomorrow. And tonight, before you go to bed, put your hand on your heart and feel the majesty of your working living body boom, done. You self-cared today.

Self-care isn’t just hour-long meditations, baths and yoga. It's whatever you do that makes you feel alive, grounded, present and in yourself. Do something like that every day and notice the change when life hands you a grenade… you handled that pretty well, didn’t you?