Yeah, I know. Healing is not linear. I just wish it would be fucking done already.
I’ve started and erased this post so many times, trying to get down in writing what I’ve been doing for the last year — since leaving a stable nonprofit salary, health insurance, and comrade friends behind. I’ve flown under the radar since then, trying to reserve my energy and not overextend myself for people who do not put in the same effort to share their time or energy with me, and as a result, people don’t really know where I am or what I’m doing. It’s kind of freeing in a sense, to be away from the constantly interrogating gaze of the “successful” and to be the only one responsible for holding all the parts of myself together.
Today, I just want to share a brief list of unconventional “self-care” tips that I have collected throughout time, especially around family trauma and movement burn-out. It’s different than just focusing on the fight against the inner demons, because sometimes I feel like the more I force it to go away, the more it clings onto me. Rather, the goal is to focus on strengthening and building up resilience, as well as a safety net, so that when the hard periods come, I will be more prepared to weather it out.
- Acupuncture for depression & anxiety, which is now largely covered if you have insurance. I have found it one of the most effective things I do. Even without insurance, there are many community acupuncture clinics with sliding scale fees.
- Try life coaching. There are other options for life coaching, but I received 12 weeks of free life coaching through Grad Life Choices, which is a program for unemployed/underemployed college grads. I would highly recommend.
- Drink plenty of water. If you need help keeping track, try using the Plant Nanny app.
- Cut caffeine intake, if you have anxiety, as it stimulates your central nervous system even further. Instead, try rooibos lattes and other alternatives!
- Take omega-3 supplements, which have been shown to decrease mood fluctuations and help with depression (source).
- Join a childcare collective (NYC / Bay Area / DC / WA / Chicago), which provides volunteer-based childcare to organizations working on liberation for working class parents of color. It’s a tangible way to support movement work, and plus interacting with kids has got to be one of the most magical things!
- Fill your Facebook with good things, including my favorite FB page, QTPOC Mental Health, which is always chock full of inspirational reminders and helpful tips.
- Meditate in guided group sessions, which are usually offered free through local community centers. Some even offer people of color only meditation groups.
- Pick up a good fiction book, which helps my brain can focus on something other than its own downward spiral thinking and instead imagine something outside of our existing world.
- Light a candle for some aromatherapy. Certain candle scents like lavender, vanilla, cinnamon, sandalwood, and jasmine can relax and help relieve stress.
- Reading poetry salt by nayyirah waheed is always good for the soul.