Illustrations by Dai Ruiz
Self-care As Warfare
The idea of “self-care” is new to me. I spent the last few years super-nomadic without a space or home to call my own. I barely cooked and just ate whatever was easy and around at the time. I never worked out: “I walk everywhere and that’s enough!” I told myself. My sleeping patterns were off and I had no sense of stability in any form whatsoever. I was broken-hearted and broken down, but my desire to feel all the richness that life has to offer still managed to fight through and conquer. That’s how I plug into the world and remind myself that life really is short and we have to at least try to be who we want to be and do what we want to do. I want to hear all the music, meet everyone, dance everywhere, eat all the delicious things.
As things in politics continue to go from weird to weirder and dangerous policies become a reality, it’s important to stay vigilant and resist—but it’s even more important to look after yourself and let the joy in. To help, here are my top self-care tips. Stay strong, sisters!
1. Learn how to meditate—there are so many different forms of meditation. Find one that works for you. It’s nice to make sure you’re giving yourself some time to just stop for a second. It feels good to prioritise yourself!
2. Go social media free - I think the amount of time we spend on social media is totally degrading to our state of mind. I want to be more present - sometimes I can be sitting with friends and we’re all on Instagram at the same time! I don’t want to be like that—I want to look into someone’s eyes when they’re talking to me and be there listening with my whole body. Try and do a social media-free weekend by deleting your apps and airplane-mode your phone as often as you can.
3. Dance, dance, dance, sweat, sweat, sweat—sweating and releasing are the keys to a balanced life. Until recently my association with exercise was the three hours a day I had spent killing myself in the gym during my skinny model years. Years that truly haunted me. Now I’ve started going back to dance classes because it’s something I loved so much when I was younger—the music and choreography helps me turn off and just be in the moment. As women we are constantly shamed into exercise to fit the right body image; we don’t emphasize enough how important it is to exercise for the endorphin release alone! It’s the most natural antidepressant.
4. Get out of your head and learn something new. Sign up to a class: writing/design/arts and crafts/sports/trumpet/ ower-arranging/ whatever—do it in a group space and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
5. Hang out on your own: I used to fill every moment of my day with work and social engagements. There was no such thing as a night in to myself, EVER. Now I find myself yearning for so much more space, for quiet and some room to breathe. My own company has become a way for me to stay balanced; I’ve learnt to devour my time alone. Solo dinners, solo cinema/gallery outings, solo holidays. This alone time has become an essential part of my new self-care regime.
6. Spicy turmeric tonic recipe—Peel fresh ginger and turmeric and throw into a blender or NutriBullet along with cardamom, coconut oil, a chili, a spoonful of honey, the juice of a lemon, the juice of an orange/mandarin and any non-dairy milk. Blend. Heat it up in a saucepan and drink. This will soothe your soul and help you fight off any cold!