Here’s my message: You must nurture you and your community.
First, I’m going to explain how serious it is for us to schedule time for our own self-care.
Then, I’ll discuss 4 simple ways to do that.
Finally, I’ll offer suggestions for ways to spread that message by allying with other beautiful people in your community.
This is the season of empowerment, transition and growth.
What’s the proof that we need self-care? Here are 2 examples.
One of my closest friends died at the age of 28, leaving behind her husband and three young children. The last time I saw her she was visibly very thin and apparently just days prior had reached out to another one of our sister-friends to talk. She was a small business owner, mother of three, and someone that many people relied on, and a beautiful poet and spirit. In one poem, she cried out, “Who’s gonna save me? Who’s gonna save me?” and every time I think of those words, I feel the pain of knowing we weren’t able to save her.
I am still unsure of the actual cause of her death, so I can’t be certain that it was due to overworking herself, but I feel in my heart, that is a very likely part of what took her.
But a definite case of death due to overworking occurred in California. This womandied due to the stress of 80-hour work weeks and other life responsibilities.
Our bodies are the structures that hold our spirits in place. Just like a cup that holds water, if it is not properly cared for, it will break and the contents will spill out and move on to some other space. At this point, I have no doubt every reader agrees, self-care is a necessity.
So how do we make it happen?
1. You have to schedule it.
We have work schedules, appointments, lunch dates, we know to take a bath, brush our teeth, etc, but we don’t schedule the kind of care our bodies and spirit need to a) cleanse out the toxins of day to day wear and tear, and b) refill with peace, love and light.
So set a reminder on your phone and COMMIT TO YOU. When that reminder dings, set aside all other things, and tend to you.
How do you tend to you?
2. Free options
Free Option 1: Play soft meditation music at bedtime EVERY NIGHT. Music has a healing effect, so regardless of what your time looks like day to day, we all sleep at some point. Play meditation musicand allow yourself to float within healing sounds.
Free Option 2: a healing activity
There are tons of videos on yoga and meditation online. Find a quiet space, at home, at a park, by water, whereever you can. Choose an activity that works for you, boxing, running, walking, or as I mentioned above, yoga or meditation, and allow yourself those 15 to 30 minutes to be free of all other things.
Don’t feel pressured to not think of your responsibilities. Just focus on the activity, breathe and allow your mind to settle on comfort. Reflect on a day in your past that you were most at peace, and allow that emotion to come to the surface for you. It’s a technique that actors use when they want to channel a specific emotion. If you want to channel in comfort and peace, use your memories to do that. They are your free resource.
If you’ve got a few dollars to invest in you …
3. Seek out resources in your community offered by locals.
Many will be low cost, some even free. In New Orleans here are some of my favorite choices for self-care. If you’re not in the NOLA area, search for similar businesses in your city.
Magnolia Yoga Studio on Basin Dr.
Ascension Arts by Ellenie Cruz
Healing through dance, with Ms. Greer or Tekrema Cultural Arts Center
Spiritual healing by Mama Soula, priestess
Midwifery and maternal health by Sister Midwife Productions
Self and Community healing through writing, Jessica Bordelon of 100 Thousand Poets for Change
Herbal skin and hair care, by the Natural Mixologist
Besides taking care of us, it’s been proven that being a help to others is empowering for most people.
So with that in mind, after giving yourself a little time,
4. Offer care and love to others
Be there for your family. Stop and chat with older folks in your city, take a moment to speak with young ones.
Looking for something a little more organized? Then, volunteer and empower others by joining locals in action taking care of an issue that is dear to you.
For my New Orleans family each of these organizations have been doing great work and need and would love to have you join forces.
Fight mass incarceration and help men who were imprisoned and newly exonerated when DNA evidence proved their innocence with RAE House.
Join a community of activists working statewide with Roots Camp LA.
Bring the healing power of dance to kids and adults with Tekrema Cultural Center, which provides free classes to children and low cost classes to adults.
Join up with “I Am My Sister” and provide education and empowerment to girls and women in New Orleans.
Give opportunity and empowerment to boys and teens with Son of a Saint.
Of course there are many more such organizations because what a lot of people don’t realize, New Orleans as well as many other cities are held together by people just like you and me, who don’t pursue handouts, though some funding would be a blessing. We do the work because we love our cities and our states. And it’s honestly comforting to realize we are truly united as one.
Like I said, Loves,
This is the season of empowerment, transition and growth.Find stillness. Find connection to others. Float inside of comfort and love. Be ready and connect with others. We are powerful and worthy of love, and when we nurture ourselves, we are strengthening the world. And when we nurture others, we spread that power and the forest of life will thrive.
Peace. Salam. Om.