“What does self-care look like for you?” It’s a question I often ask my interview subjects, and it’s amazing how much their answers vary.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean bubble baths and glasses of red wine (although if it does for you, that’s great, too). Self-care, really, is anything that you do for yourself to fill your cup back up—whether that be moving your body, watching soapy television, or calling a loved one. Self-care is just that: for the self. There are no rules.
To normalize the idea of talking about the ways we care for ourselves (and promote the radical notion that it’s not selfish to do so), I asked for insight from the body: a home for love.
Founded by Deun Ivory, the body: a home for love is an organization that is rewiring the way Black women heal from sexual trauma, doing so through self-love, body positivity, and cultivating joy. Here’s how some of the women in its community like to nurture themselves.
Relle D.: “I have stripped my self-care practices right back down to basics, due to feeling depressed with lots of overwhelm. Have I drunk enough water? Have I had at least one nourishing meal today? Have I been out to get some fresh air? This is all self-care to me. And I also love the sanctuary of my bedroom: to sit still, to read, to listen to a podcast.”
Vera B.: “Making sure I get a good night’s sleep, a nice long shower under low light after a long day, watching something funny, getting up early before sunrise to journal and meditate.”
Danielle A.: “I’ve noticed particularly during lockdown, my self-care has been decluttering and clearing out my space. It’s almost a way of decluttering thoughts, then giving me space to breathe, think, and be mindful. That way I’m also able to check in on myself mentally or emotionally. I also like to take walks and read at the park. I’m trying to be very intentional with reading, so going somewhere to read where it’s just nature and me is a way of letting me know that I’ve made time for myself.”
Michaela G.: “Taking a walk in nature while listening to my surroundings. I normally would listen to music or a podcast, but there’s something so beautiful about being present and taking in all the sounds of my surroundings—that could be the rain hitting the pavement, the trees swaying, and the birds chirping.”Danelle M.: “My very favourite thing is to journal. My gosh, I really fell in love with journalling this summer. Nothing does it quite like writing down my thoughts on a page. Because when I journal, I am completely, 100 per cent me, no matter who that looks like. Sometimes my thoughts don’t reflect the ‘good girl’ I’m supposed to be, or I think something really critical and bad about myself or someone else. I can write every single thing down, just strip down to the very bones of myself. It is also in that space that I can show myself love and compassion and forgiveness. Nothing quite like these experiences, I tell you. Here I am—every single aspect of myself. Light and shadows.”