Self-care as activism?

There are two different ‘landscapes’ that we operate within.

The first is the landscape of stress; too much work, noisy commutes, a plethora of demands on our time, an abundance of ‘numbing’ opportunities like alcohol, food, shopping, unhelpful messages about the way we look, unhelpful messages about whether we are achieving ‘enough’. The cynical part of me believes this landscape is state sponsored, we the masses are kept busy in this land of stress, unable to spend time thinking creatively.

Which leads me to the second landscape that we operate from, which is the land of innovation and creativity. This is the place we inhabit when as children we make up songs and perform them to family, this is where we have a light bulb moment about a problem in the workplace, this is where we come up with an idea for reaching out to an old contact to get some support with a new venture. This is also the landscape people inhabit when they come up with ideas about Civil Rights, the Suffragette movement, Food Banks, Park Run, Crowdfunding, Be-friending elderly people, homing refugees… This is the place from which we change the world, and bring more compassion, collaboration, community, respect, equality and love to the world.

The piece that I’m most interested in, the piece which is accessible to everybody, and stands as a small, peaceful act of dissonance to the stressful culture we spend so much of our time within, is the bridge between the two. I call that bridge ‘The Bridge of Self Care.’

We cannot get to the land of creativity and innovation if we don’t first pull ourselves away from the stress. The most effective way to step away from the world of stress is to treat yourself well; to pay attention to the way you talk to yourself, to pay attention to the stories you tell yourself, to eat well, to sleep well, to get connected to nature, to take exercise, to laugh, to spend time with people you love. The self-care bridge is the place where we acknowledge ourselves for our achievements, where we get grateful for all the blessings we have in our lives. As Noam Chomsky suggests the self-care bridge is actually our default way of being, this is the most natural place for us to be, this is our truth.

So aside from the fact that being on the self-care bridge and the land of creativity just feels better than being in the land of stress, it’s also the way we steer the world in a different direction. By choosing not to numb out at the end of the week, and choosing instead to spend half an hour meditating and then half an hour thinking about ideas we are standing up against a system that would have us operate otherwise.

Self-care can most certainly be a form of activism. I’d love to hear how you’re getting involved.

Sending love, Hannah

*Image by Michael Hull

1 Comment
  • Elloa Atkinson
    Posted at 14:56h, 25 November

    So powerful, Hannah… self-care as a political act. I agree with your inner cynic that perhaps the first state, where we’re constantly in fight-flight survival mode, is state sponsored.

    What am I doing? Well, I am determined not to panic about my livelihood but instead to focus on how I can a) experience joy and connectedness, and b) serve rather than worrying ceaselessly about whether I’ll be able to pay the rent. That line of thinking has never proved itself to be true for me, and drains me of creativity—which, as you wrote here, is what changes the world.

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