2017 featured a disturbing number of headlines about anti-Semitism all over the world. For me, those headlines produce a rollercoaster of emotions that I’ve processed in a variety of ways. Some days I use my feelings to make our democracy a little stronger through calls and emails to congress or participating in peaceful protests. Then there are other days when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and useless.
Civil rights activist and writer Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” It makes perfect sense that you can’t fight for what you believe in if you aren’t confident in your own skin. In an attempt to process my feelings in ways that are healthy and useful, I’ve become something of an amateur self care guru. Below are some tips I’ve gathered that are affordable, easy, and effective. I hope these will inspire you to take some time to care for yourself on any day you need it:
1. Journal. Writing down your feelings is a fast and easy way to process and feel better.
2. Start a gratitude practice. Every morning I try to write down at least one thing I’m grateful for. It helps me start off feeling more positive each day.
3. Turn off your electronics. At least log off social media. Seriously, do it.
4. Go for a walk. Being outdoors does wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. Even a five-minute walk around your office building can make a difference.
5. Exercise. Endorphins are the most underrated anti-depressant. Feeling physically strong reinforces emotional resilience and keeps your body healthy.
6. Meditate. I’m hardly a good example for this particular practice, but connecting with your breath and clearing your mind both sound pretty useful these days. There are a variety of free apps and Youtube videos to help you start. I’ve heard great things about the Calm app and DoYouYoga has some great beginner meditation videos for free on Youtube.
7. Read. Fiction in particular encourages empathy, an important skill for whenever you need to engage with people you don’t agree with or learn troublesome news. Here are 10 new books to look forward to in 2018.
8. Listen to or watch Jewish actors and comedians. I personally love me some Fran Drescher, Golden Girls, and Broad City.
9. Cook. Try a new recipe or prepare healthy food for your week. Cutting up fruits and vegetables is surprisingly therapeutic.
10. Craft. Break out the paper and colored pencils. Treat yourself to a coloring book. Pretend you’re a fancy AF artist and act accordingly.
11. Take a bath or shower. I’m lucky enough to have a bathtub and it has turned into my favorite body of water. If you buy some Epsom salts or bubble bath it’s an easy way to pamper yourself with minimal effort.
12. Watch really stupid reality television. If you want to feel better about your life choices just watch an episode or two from the Real Housewives.
13. Revisit something you loved from your childhood. Listening to 2000s music makes me feel nostalgic and also grateful I’ve learned not to coat myself in body glitter.
14. Cuddle with your pet. Or if you don’t have a pet, sign up to volunteer at an animal rescue. Animals are way better than people.
15. Eat some chocolate. Because, duh.