Level Up Your Self Care Space
Jun 10

Finding Joy in the Chaos

As an introvert, I’ve always found great solace in my own company. My sanctuary, my sacred space – it’s where I can retreat, recharge, and find that elusive state of inner peace. But in this fast-paced, high-stress world we live in, carving out that time for myself hasn’t always been easy.

I distinctly remember the day when the weight of it all just became too much. It was in the aftermath of the tragic events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia, when I felt compelled to use my platform to amplify the voices of those on the front lines. As activist Bree Newsome recounted, it was a day filled with trauma and heartbreak, where I found myself torn between the need to take action and the equally pressing need to step back and take care of myself.

In that moment, I realized the importance of striking a delicate balance – of knowing when to pour myself into the fight, and when to retreat into the comforting embrace of my own self-care ritual. Because the truth is, this work, this journey towards justice and equity, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And if we’re going to go the distance, we have to be intentional about replenishing our reserves, about finding those pockets of joy and solace that will sustain us.

The Power of Pause

For me, that self-care oasis often manifests in the form of quiet solitude – moments of mindfulness and reflection where I can fully immerse myself in the present moment. As Bree Newsome so eloquently put it, “Being intentional about caring for ourselves and each other and carving out moments and spaces for joy is itself a radical form of resilience and resistance.”

And it’s not just me – research has shown that the simple act of taking a break, of stepping away from the constant demands and distractions of our daily lives, can have a profoundly positive impact on our mental and physical well-being. According to Harvard Business Review, these “pause” rituals can help us feel more grounded, centered, and ready to tackle whatever challenges come our way.

But the key, as Newsome points out, is to make sure that self-care doesn’t become yet another chore on our endless to-do lists. It has to be something that truly nourishes us, that leaves us feeling rejuvenated rather than depleted. And that’s where the power of intentionality comes into play.

Crafting a Sanctuary

When it comes to cultivating that restorative self-care space, the options are endless. For some, it might be as simple as curling up with a good book, savoring a steaming mug of tea, or losing themselves in the soothing rhythms of a favorite playlist. For others, it might mean indulging in a luxurious skincare routine, or carving out time for a gentle yoga flow.

But for me, the secret weapon in my self-care arsenal has always been my living space. As the experts at Good Housekeeping suggest, a decluttered, organized environment can have a profound impact on our overall sense of well-being. And when it comes to creating that personalized sanctuary, the options are endless.

Perhaps it’s investing in a plush, custom sofa that beckons you to sink in and let the stresses of the day melt away. Or maybe it’s filling your space with lush, vibrant greenery that infuses the air with a sense of calm and renewal. It could even be as simple as curating a cozy reading nook, complete with a cozy throw, soft lighting, and a stack of your favorite magazines.

The key is to think about the sensations and emotions you want to evoke – the sights, sounds, and textures that will transport you to a place of pure tranquility. Because when you’re surrounded by the things that bring you joy and comfort, it becomes exponentially easier to tap into that restorative headspace, even amidst the chaos of everyday life.

Tending to Your Whole Self

Of course, creating the perfect self-care oasis is only half the battle. The other crucial component is actually taking the time to engage with it, to fully immerse yourself in that moment of pause and reflection.

As the experts at Good Housekeeping remind us, self-care isn’t just about the occasional indulgence – it’s about cultivating a sustainable, holistic practice that nourishes us physically, mentally, and emotionally. And that means being intentional about addressing all facets of our wellbeing, from our sleep habits to our exercise routines to the way we nourish our bodies.

So perhaps that means starting your day with a few minutes of gentle stretching, or making a concerted effort to stay hydrated throughout the day. Maybe it’s swapping out your afternoon snack for a piece of fresh fruit, or taking a rejuvenating walk around the block during your lunch break.

The key is to experiment, to find the rituals and routines that speak to you on a deeper level. Because when we approach self-care as a multifaceted, lifelong journey rather than a quick fix, that’s when the true magic starts to happen. That’s when we start to cultivate a profound sense of inner peace and resilience that can carry us through even the darkest of times.

Embracing the Ebb and Flow

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that this whole self-care thing isn’t always easy. There are days when the idea of taking a break feels more like a luxury than a necessity, and moments when the relentless grind of activism and social justice work feels like it’s going to swallow me whole.

As Bree Newsome so eloquently put it, “Balancing activism with self-care didn’t come naturally to me at first.” There were times when I felt guilty for stepping away, when I worried that my time would be better spent on the front lines, fighting for the change I so desperately wanted to see.

But the truth is, those moments of pause and reflection, of carving out space for joy and restoration, they’re not a luxury – they’re a necessity. Because if we don’t take the time to refuel and recharge, we risk burning out, and that’s the last thing the movement needs.

So I’ve learned to embrace the ebb and flow, to recognize that there will be days when I’m called to step up and do the hard work, and others when I need to step back and focus on my own wellbeing. And I’ve discovered that the more I prioritize self-care, the more resilient and effective I become in my activism – because when I’m operating from a place of balance and inner peace, I’m able to show up as my best, most grounded self.

A Radical Act of Resistance

Ultimately, that’s what self-care is all about – it’s not just about taking a bubble bath or indulging in a fancy face mask (although those things can certainly be part of the equation). It’s about cultivating a deep, unwavering sense of self-love and self-compassion, and using that as a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation.

Because in a world that so often tries to tell us that we’re not enough, that we need to be constantly striving and achieving and performing, the simple act of prioritizing our own needs and well-being is a radical, revolutionary act. It’s a way of saying, “I matter, my happiness matters, and I’m not going to let anyone or anything take that away from me.”

And when we do that, when we create those sacred spaces of rest and restoration, we’re not just caring for ourselves – we’re also fueling the larger movement for justice and equity. We’re building the kind of resilience and fortitude that will allow us to go the distance, to keep showing up and fighting the good fight, no matter how daunting the challenges may be.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, if the weight of it all is starting to feel like too much, I encourage you to take a deep breath, to pause, and to ask yourself: What do I need right now to feel nourished and restored? What simple act of self-care can I commit to, right here, right now?

Because when we make that investment in our own wellbeing, we’re not just indulging in a luxury – we’re engaging in a powerful, transformative act of resistance. We’re saying, “I matter, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep showing up as my best, most authentic self.”

And that, my friends, is the true power of self-care.

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