Self Care in 5 Easy Steps

These times are hard: if you’re woke and paying attention, each day brings its own two-day sized dose of pain and heartache.  The good news is that that feeling that you’re feeling is a side effect of revolution.  But while you wait for the revolution to not be televised, how do you keep from dissolving into a puddle of woke up tears and anger?  Smntks has a few tips to keep you in the struggle, no matter how real it gets.

Breathe: the first go to for some chill is surrounding that big heart of yours.  Use those lungs to expel the poisonous energy we drink when we engage in spiritual battle with injustice.  There’s a  reason that yogis, sufi and puppies all expel breathe to reach maximum zen.

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The conscious regulation of your breath calms your mind and floods your body with what it needs to make it to the next breath.  String those breaths together and wha-la you’re meditating.  Meditation is shown to increase all kinds of good things without the side effects of oh say Xanax and wine.  Most importantly, give us a big dose of connection and empathy that can help us love our way through this crazy world. So take a breath–one that fills your lungs until you feel your own potential, and then push it out with all the fight I know you have in spades.  Take five minutes of breaths. Take 500.  They’re free.

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Disconnect: You’re conscious.  Me too.  We’re not alone in this fight.  It’s okay for you to take a break from the battlefield.  There are a million of us here, so when you feel like you can’t take it anymore you have permission to exit, stage left, until you’re ready to reload. Sometimes the pressure–and the injustice itself makes us feel like we can never rest, but that is a sure recipe for failure.  Shut off your media for a few days–studies say a three-day media detox can help you feel more balanced.  Time away from the struggle can also help us remember what it is we are fighting for.

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Find something nice to look at:  What is your favorite thing to see?  Kitties? Beaches? laughing children holding balloons?  Go seek those things out and fill your eyes as deeply as you’ve filled your lungs.  Research show that just looking at a large body of water can reset your inner workings. Besides, if eyes are the window to the soul, then our windows have surely been tainted by all we have been witnessing these last years.  Clean your window with beautiful visions.  Somewhere in your soul must reside the template of the utopic world you want to make.  Every once in while, recharge that vision.

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Make something:  Fighting chaos and destruction can make us lose our way from the creator inside of us.  Making something beautiful–whether it is a sock or a meal or an arrangement of flowers–can remind us of the power we have to complete copacetic constructions.  Craft projects, unlike race and class, are constructions that you can control on your own.  Making something–sock or society–is a process: slaying at the micro process of crafting will have you ready to slay the bigger beast of social process.  You also might make something awesome for the battlefield!

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Reconnect:  Family and friends are not just for Facebook.  Go see people that you love and who love you.  Touch them (appropriately, please, unless they’re into it!), talk to them. look at how awesome the people that you know are.  Ask the kids in your life about the future–and believe them.  Talk about springtime, and spaceships and the time you laughed so hard milk came out of your nose. Give them something you made, and let them give you some love so you can top off for the next time the struggle gets too real.

These times, these times.  We will look back and know that these were the times that changed everything.  The moment is now, but don’t let that stop you from taking a moment to reconnect with the now inside of you.  We need you–yes, you– to be a healthy conscious happy warrior for justice.  So take a break.  The fight will be here when you get back.

P.S. If you make something post a pic in the comments and I’ll share it out!

Susan X Jane

Susan Jane thinks a lot about media and race…a lot. She teaches Communications at Wheelock College, writes and speaks about media…and race... and generally encourages everyone she meets to think about the way media shapes their sense of self and their ideas and beliefs about the world. If you're reading this, she wants you to think about it too. Want to talk about it? Let's go.

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