Take a Deep Breath
The phones have stopped ringing, and the emails and texts from politicians have ended. The 2020 US Presidential Election has (finally) come to a close.
Have you taken a breath yet?
Taking care of yourself is an essential act.
Throughout this long and challenging (and tbh- scary) year, we’ve taken on an inordinate amount of stress. Is your jaw clenched? Have you had enough water today? When was the last time you did something purely for you?
Radical self-care is the assertion that our own health — mental, physical, and emotional — needs to be prioritized in order for us to be able to better serve our communities.
Self-care can take many forms, and looks different for everybody and every body. Here are 3 simple ways that you can practice self-care
● Whether it’s for practicing healthy communication, improving orgasm, or for taking us from 60 back down to zero, breathing is an essential part of our healthy functioning in all the ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our breath is connected to our autonomic nervous system, and can help to regulate our heart rate.
● When we move from shorter, shallow breaths to longer deeper ones, we also help tame anxiety and other reactive emotions, plus it’s a valuable technique to help you be in your body. (That’s one reason it’s a sex skill on top of all the other relaxing and grounding things breathing can do for you.)
● Daylight Savings is just one example of the many things that could be affecting your Zzzzs. And with all the added news watching before bed, those pesky blue lights can have your insomnia feeling overwhelming! Try giving yourself at least 20 mins without any screen usage before bedtime to help improve your REM sleep and prevent you from seeing images of politicians in your brain as you close your eyes. That’s right, you’ll sleep better if you cut that doom-scrolling short.
● Another great way to help get a good night’s sleep? Have an orgasm. Orgasms can relieve tension, and they release a hormone called prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy.
● Be gentle on yourself — try to remove the blame you may be tempted to take on for having a moment of pleasure. You are literally surviving through a global crisis and a historic election year. There’s nothing selfish about self-care, especially right now.
● Giving yourself a break from the news and the constant inundation of stress-inducing content on social media can be important. While we’re not saying to completely cut off your intake and lose touch with what’s going on, taking a step back can ensure that we do not burn out. This is especially important for those who are experiencing the brunt of these realities firsthand — such as members of the Black community, LGBTQ+ folks, health care and other essential workers, and others on the frontlines of the many battles we are facing today.
● When taking a break, it can be hard to re-focus and re-center our energy in a way that allows us to truly relax for a while. Relaxing our physical bodies can be key to being able to lay mental and emotional burdens aside as well. This is where that warm bath really can make a difference: Let your body rest, exhale, and allow your senses to guide you. Maybe physical self-care means yoga or stretching; maybe it means sexual self-care via masturbation (with or without a vibrator), or a partner’s compassionate and sensual touch. Scent and texture might comfort and please you: oils, candles and other sensual things can transport you for a bit.
● Check in with your body’s basic needs. When we’re stressed, grieving, or processing, it is common to experience physical symptoms. Trouble getting sleep, feeling exhausted, having aches and pains can be your body trying to send you a message: it’s time to make taking care of yourself a priority.
● And if you turn to partners for support and succor, be gentle with each other. These aren’t normal times, and you might want different things, have different boundaries. Stay connected with communication, consent, and care. Understand that they need time for their self-care, too.
So, try giving yourself permission to engage in some radical self-care. Ask yourself what you can do to take care of yourself, and do it — even if it feels superfluous or self-indulgent.
And always remember: participating in self-care isn’t selfish — especially when you’re doing it to keep yourself afloat. In order to create the capacity to take care of others, you have to make sure that you have enough for yourself.
We want to remind you: you matter.