Question of the Week: September 12th, 2017.

Do you integrate self care into your life, and if so, what works for you? 

I’ve seen self-care and activism come up a few times in the ace community, most notably in the February 2017 Carnival of Aces on Resistance, Activism, and Self-Care.  Even though we talk about self care, actually doing self care feels very isolated for me. Self care is like turning off your cell phone and venturing into a dark forest to leave “the world” behind and nurture parts of yourself that can only be nurtured in mysterious silent places. Partly this is true because my self care does involve walks in the forest, but it is also metaphorical, in that I can’t imagine doing self care while in “the world” (whatever that is).

Every day I try to practice yoga, meditate, go for a walk in the forest behind my house, take a bubble bath with lavender, make herbal tea, drink a green smoothie, and journal with Julia Cameron’s morning pages. Over years of practicing self care I’ve honed in on activities that when done most days, vastly improve my general mood. Some days I easily do everything on my list and other days the list itself exhausts me. But mostly my self care is done alone: separate but important I remind myself.

For the last year my mind has been buzzing with self care. Can I integrate it into my life more wholly and what about activism? I’ve made many attempts, but I’m still thinking. What does activism look like that turns inward and nurtures our community? It looks like support resources like Resources for Ace Survivors, and maybe a bit like consciousness raising from feminism in the 70s, but also other things and more.

I’m curious if you’ve been thinking about these things too. What does self care mean to you, in relation to your own life, or ace communities in general?

 

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is petuniaparty.tumblr.com
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3 Responses to Question of the Week: September 12th, 2017.

  1. Elizabeth says:

    For me, most of the time self-care is a lot more mundane than all of that. It’s more like, what time is it, did I eat today? Was there enough iron in my food? Have I had enough water? Did I remember to take my medicine? Do I need to do laundry, get groceries, or pay bills? Do I have deadlines coming up for things that I need to take care of? Which are hard deadlines and which are flexible deadlines? Have I been focusing too much on doing that and not stopping to take a break to stretch? Would I feel better if I went to wash my face or take a shower? Would I feel better if I cleaned my desk/house some?

    Time management is a big part of it and the part I have the most trouble with, I kind of just have no mental concept of how much time has passed really. What’s frustrating is that usually when I mention this problem, I’ll get recommended some kind of phone app, but I don’t like having to rely on my phone because it’s old and unreliable, plus I get a lot of phone anxiety so I don’t like to keep it near me at all times.

    So… I guess the phrasing of this question doesn’t make that much sense to me, because it leaves all of that sort of thing (the bulk of my experience) out. I mean, everyone has to do that kind of self-care at the very least, right? But it seems like the most popular conception of self-care is more of the “treat yourself / do yoga” variety, which excludes the most basic and mundane parts of it… which are typically just considered “adultng” instead (I find that phrasing questionable as well, because it implies that if you don’t manage these things well that you’re not “adult” enough or something, very ableist).

    Doing yoga, meditating, etc. are also good forms of self-care, of course. I try to do that too, but I’m not super consistent about it. The unpredictable nature of my various conditions makes it super super hard for me to establish any kind of daily routine, since I never really know how I’ll be doing at any given day/time, so how can I plan for it? This has gotten better over time, with treatment, but it’s still a huge problem for me. Being flexible about scheduling things, and being forgiving to myself when I don’t stick to a schedule, is a part of self-care too.

    It’s interesting that you mention self-care as isolated/isolating, and walking through mysterious silent places. For me, that’s really important, to disconnect from the internet and spend some time in nature. Unfortunately I don’t get to do that as much as I’d like, because the climate in this area isn’t very hospitable. If I lived near a forest I’d go for walks in it regularly, but going outside where I live is often more draining than nurturing. So there’s some cost-benefit analysis about whether I should do that. What I try to do instead is at least have an inner quiet place I can go to in my mind when I can’t physically. If I go physically, it has to be a longer retreat, which is nice but can also leave me feeling too disconnected in a bad way… and after that doing some reconnecting is an important (but often difficult) part of self-care too.

  2. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    I’m with Elizabeth on a lot of things here – basic life management (enough sleep, enough decent food, enough non-sugary drinks, some semblance of order in my living space) is, well, basic.
    Following a very detailed schedule for my free time is a thing I would truly never opt for, and taking a day where I can do whatever strikes my fancy is more of a luxury to me than any kind of bubble bath (I dislike taking baths, low blood pressure ftw).
    I also dislike having the feeling that everyone is depending on a reaction from me, so: Limiting my time on Facebook is an act of self-care for me, as is the fact that my phone gets WiFi, but no other internet.
    Otherwise – I need to do writing, reading, dancing, spending some time outside, and striking a balance between to much and too little social interaction in order to function.
    Not expecting too much from myself is an ongoing struggle, and my work-life-balance is somtimes off, giving that my second job as a writer is bleeding everywhere.

  3. Stheg says:

    My view of self care is a lot like yours. Usually it means I need to escape the world and sort things out in my own head. I find daily tasks like cleaning and taking care of my space very stifling when I’m having a moment where I need self care.

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