Well, the last month has been a lot. This year has been a lot. The human experience is a lot.
This is the conversation I am having with folks– friends, family, clients, and colleagues– on a regular basis. What about you?
Practicing Care Individually and Together
Self-care and collective or community care are experiences and actions that are worthy of our time, energy, and effort. Furthermore, these acts of tending to ourselves and one another are required in order for us to thrive.
Our bodies, minds, hearts, and nervous systems need opportunities to reset and rest. And, likewise, the systems we are a part of– our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, our cities, and so on– need safekeeping, too.
As we navigate this pandemic and the election/transition of leadership and all these experiences entail– the layers and layers of injustice, trauma, and harm– let us, first, acknowledge the bigness of the feelings we might be experiencing, including feelings that seem like a void. Then, let us normalize care-taking of ourselves and one another, not just 1:1 but within our communities.
Mara Glatzel taught me about the difference between consistent self-care and emergency self-care. Right now, it seems like we are individually and collectively dealing with emergency after emergency and trauma after trauma. And while this is daunting, to me, it also feels like an invitation to really, heartily focus on care.
So the moments of putting the phone down just to look out the window, taking a drive just to feel the space, eating a favorite food because it’s nourishing or delicious, lighting a candle to warm up the room, staying hydrated, making a new playlist… these moments matter.
The emails to your senators, donations to food banks, calling a loved one, participating in mutual aid, texting a friend, showing up for group Zooms, celebrating joys virtually or socially distanced… these moments matter.
Also, the little and big joys… the babies being born, the plants growing new leaves, the richness of dark chocolate, the fall breeze (or fall snow?! depending on where you are), the FaceTime calls with loved ones… these joys matter too.
Community-Sourced Ideas for Self-Care
Note: Most people named that self-care for them means access to the Self and/or time with one’s body.
- Making a joyful or grounding playlist
- Sitting outside in the sun
- Humming or singing
- Drinking plenty of water
- A tech-free bath (epsom salts and/or essential oils for a bonus)
- Running without headphones (hear and connect to surroundings)
- Tending to houseplants
- Having good boundaries and saying “no” when that’s what feels right
- Letting people know when I am struggling and receiving their support/help
- Breathwork or just noticing the breath
- Engaging with fictional works for pleasurable connection
Community-Sourced Ideas for Community Care
- Any of the above with other people– virtually or safely at a distance if they aren’t in your pod, please.
- Attending meetings and rallies led by local organizers
- Going to co-working sessions– love you, BFTP friends!
- Engaging in group therapy
- Participating in mutual aid efforts– through money, time, sharing posts, etc.
- Sending metta to people who come to mind
- Telling friends how proud of them I am
- Offering what I can– resources, money, time, energy, love, food, etc.
- Receiving when I am in need and/or when it’s offered.
- Community food sharing– free fridges, little free pantries, informal tables at apartment complexes, Buy Nothing Groups, etc.
- Hosting donation-based or free community gatherings for connection and healing (via Zoom during the pandemic)
- Making art with friends (via Zoom)
- Engaging in trading and bartering of services and goods
- Participating in book clubs on topics I care about
As you engage in self and community care, you may enjoy documenting your support system with this guide + map. Additionally, you might like to connect with a coach or other support professional; if you need help getting started, please reach out.
Additionally, if you are a parent who is trying to start the conversation with your teen about self-care and community care, check out this blog for ideas on getting started.