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Self-Care Sustenance

While it may include bubble baths, self-care is not only that. Grief is individual + relational. So is self-care.

The sustenance sources shared here have helped me personally + professionally to:


  1. embody the full range experience of grief and self-care,
  2. re-member that our self-care is interdependent with community, and
  3. understand how grief + self-care are social justice issues.

Expanding Definitions Of Self-Care

  • Self-Care Won’t Save Us by Aisling McCrea:
    “In a time where people—especially millennials, at whom this particular brand of self-care is aimed—are increasingly talking about their struggles with depression, anxiety and insecurities, it’s no wonder that “practicing self-care” is an appealing prospect, even if it does sometimes seem like a fancy way to say “do things you like.” What is concerning is the way that this advice appears to be perfectly designed to fit in with a society that appears to be the cause of so much of the depression, anxiety, and insecurities. By finding the solution to young people’s mental ill-health (be it a diagnosed mental health problem or simply the day-to-day stresses of life) in do-it-yourself fixes, and putting the burden on the target audience to find a way to cope, the framework of self-care avoids having to think about issues on a societal level. In the world of self-care, mental health is not political, it’s individual.”
  • Beyond Self-Care Bubble Baths: A Vision for Community Care by Abeni Jones:
    “If I and other people with certain disabilities are going to survive, we need care — and not from ourselves. Because when it gets really bad for me, self-care is literally impossible. In those moments, I need community care.”
  • Communities of Care, Organizations for Liberation:
    “We need to move the self-care conversation into community care. We need to move the conversation from individual to collective. From independent to interdependent.”
  • Self-Care / Collective-Care by Elizabeth Nguyen:
    A shared Google Doc listing practical ideas for how to address different kinds of needs on both the individual and collective levels.
  • DRUM’s Soulful Beat: Desis Embodying Radical Healing:
    “DRUM’s work helps transform members’ sense of isolation into one of belonging, confusion into analysis, hopelessness into hope, disempowerment into empowerment, and helplessness into strategic action…DRUM helps transform their members’ sense of victimization into agency and restores their communities’ faith and hope in themselves. They exemplify what Yashna Padamsee identifies as “communities of care” when she encourages “communities to create structures in which self-care changes to community care” (2011).”
  • 10 Ways to ‘Reach Out’ When You’re Struggling With Your Mental Health:
    “Reaching out is a this skill we’re somehow expected to know, yet it’s never taught and rarely modeled for us. It’s this vague, hopeful sentiment that people throw around, without ever really defining it. What are we asking people to do or say? It’s not exactly clear…We need to be more specific…we need to normalize asking for help and talk about what that might look like, rather than pretending it’s a simple and intuitive thing to do.”

Addressing Crisis Without Involving Police

  • 5 Ways to Help Someone in a Mental Health Emergency Without Calling the Police:
    “It’s more clear than ever that we need to be extremely thoughtful about calling the police and should literally do everything we can to keep the police from being called. When someone is having a mental health emergency the people around them may feel at a loss of what else to do. It’s important that we think about and create alternatives…”
  • New Zine: 12 Things to do Instead of Calling the Cops:
    “Keep a contact list of community resources like suicide hotlines. When police are contacted to “manage” such situations, people with mental illness are sixteen times more likely to be killed by cops than those without mental health challenges.”
  • What To Do Instead of Calling the Police: A Guide, A Syllabus, A Conversation, A Process:
    “…the police force in the U.S. upholds a system of racialized violence and white supremacy…when police get involved, black people, Latinx people, Native Americans, people of color, queer & trans people, sex workers, women, undocumented immigrants, and people living with disabilities and mental illness are usually in more danger, even if they are the victims of the crime being reported…What do you do instead of calling the police? How do you keep yourself safe without seeking protection from a system that is predicated upon the surveillance and extermination of others?…[This blog post] is an in-progress list of resources on alternatives to policing, which range from the theoretical to the practical.”
  • Don’t Call The Police: community based alternatives to police in your city:
    “About: Founded in June 2020, dontcallthepolice.com is an online directory of local resources available as alternatives to calling the police or 911… when faced with a situation that requires de-escalation and/or intervention, not violence. We believe in care, not cops, and will continue to work to support to Black and POC-led organizations working to reimagine public safety.”

Social Justice When Chronically Ill

  • sick woman theory by Johanna Hedva:
    “So, as I lay there, unable to march, hold up a sign, shout a slogan that would be heard, or be visible in any traditional capacity as a political being, the central question of Sick Woman Theory formed: How do you throw a brick through the window of a bank if you can’t get out of bed?” (author website) An updated version of Sick Woman Theory is now housed at Topical Cream.
  • 26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets:
    “By and for those in our communities who can’t be in the streets, we offer a list of concrete ways…”
  • 5 Ways You Can Be an Activist Without Hitting the Streets:
    “But marching isn’t the only way to fight back. And for some folks, it’s not within the realm of possibility…There is no singular way to be an activist – and certainly, activism doesn’t begin and end at marching. Here are five ways to make a change without even leaving the house, in most cases!”
  • Finding What Works For You: 12 Ways You Can Be an Activist Without Going to a Protest:
    “Activism comes in all shapes and sizes…why not use our skills and passions to create our own specific type activism? Create a surround experience of activism, if you will—through events, civic engagement, donations, dialogue, art, and digital platforms. Wondering where to start? Here are 12 different ideas/types of activism you can engage in besides attending a physical demonstration…”

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