How Audre Lorde and Self-Care Are Keeping Me Well During This Unrest

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As a Black woman, my idea of "self-care" and wellness has always gone beyond the ways in which self-care has been sold to us by the beauty industry. This isn’t to say that I don’t love having a robust skin-care routine, but I have been guided by the idea that self-care is more than surface-deep self-indulgence. 

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

We are witnessing the tragic deaths of dozens of Black Americans make national news and are experiencing a period of collective mourning. In these circumstances, self-care is knowing when to step away from the heartbreaking news to rest. It’s knowing that our self-preservation as Black women is political in nature, especially as we advocate for a more equitable world. Avoiding burnout and preserving our minds allows us to live another day to fight for justice.

Self-Preservation & Self-Care

The late civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde has challenged me to think about all the actions that allow me to preserve my peace, my mind, and my body as a Black woman as radical. This arms me to fight the guilt and hopelessness that accompany the feeling of “not doing enough” as an individual in the face of widespread systemic tragedy.

I read this quote often and have built many wellness rituals and habits that don’t look like what one may typically imagine “self-care” to look like. For instance, I take my moods more seriously. I allow tears of anger or grief to come when they need to and release the need to know exactly why I’m upset. I make it a point to have one day a week where my phone is on “Do not disturb” for 24 hours. When it rains, I take a break to sit next to an open window and take a meditative listen. Sometimes, I even play in the downpour.

I educate myself by reading the words of thought leaders and experts offering practical solutions to the issues of inequality that are plaguing our society. I recognize when I am putting myself in stressful situations and cultivating unnecessary conflict. I am firm with my boundaries and unyielding to those who would be disrespectful of them. I actively seek communities of other Black women who understand my experiences. 

No matter what I am faced with, I am empowered to remember that my self-preservation is radical.

Tags: Self Care, Mental Health, BIPOC

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Written By

Mars Sebastian

Brooklyn born writer, poet, and soon-to-be author Mars Sebastian is focused on writing work that matters. When she isn't w... See Full Bio

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