When the going gets tough, the tough get into self-care.
Know that in times of crisis self-care is actually self-preservation.
It might feel selfish to need to take me time in the midst of a crisis, when it feels like everyone is waiting for the next terrible thing to happen. Anwar tells BuzzFeed Health that it’s actually in times like this that self-care is most important and should actually be thought of as self-preservation, something you must do to be able to keep living your life and meeting its obligations like work, school, relationships, and your social life.
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First things first: Are you eating, sleeping, and drinking water?
Self-care can definitely mean Netflix, ice cream, a facial, and bonding with your dog. But before you can tend to your emotional needs, you really just need to make sure you’re physically OK, Rashad says. Like, when was the last time you ate? Have you been drinking water? How has your sleep been lately? Keeping yourself well not solely for the purposes of activism but also because you need to live your life — go to work, study, run errands, commute, babysit, whatever — will enable you to meet those next-level emotional needs that require tending to.
Rashad says you can really only function in a state of heightened anxiety for so long. That thing where you chug coffee and run on adrenaline because you have to attend back-to-back protests and then study for your test and then get through a shift at work — you can do that for maybe 48 hours. After that your body will demand rest, food, water, and just general TLC. And your mind will, too.
“There’s a point at which you cognitively hit a wall. You actually have diminished effectiveness,” if you don’t find time to rest and, at least temporarily, take a break from being so engaged, says Rashad.
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Maintaining your routine is really important.
When things get really dark you might feel like you want to hide from life — take a day off from work, maybe not even get out of bed. But Rashad says that in times of total instability and anxiety when what’s happening around you makes you feel scared and powerless, one of the best ways to cope is to actually live your everyday life the way you always have.
“Sticking to the normal routine allows you feel a sense of agency,” she says.
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