Real Self-Care Under Oppressive Systems
I often remind myself that although there are many terrible external things in the world, I typically can only control my reaction to them as I often lack any individual agency to immediately change them in a particular moment. Boycotting, labor organizing, writing to representatives, voting, striking, etc. are all critical to creating the systemic change that improves our wellbeing, but those are outside the scope of this page.
I wanted to create this page to list a few tools that I’ve found to help me practice introspection and inner equanimity anytime, anywhere. My goal with these is never mastery. Life will always find new ways to humble us. Instead, I try to approach introspection with a beginner’s mind and compassionate curiosity. Please take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. None of this is a substitute for medical advice. Here is a directory of international mental health helplines should you need it.
Check in on my current state/needs
- HALT - Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired? - I use this acronym to check in with myself on these four common "risk states" that affect my mood and behavior. Simply bringing awareness to these issues can be helpful. If I am able in the moment, I will try to address them to improve my mental health. More info
Quieting the mind
- Socratic Questioning - I was introduced to this tool in therapy. Asking myself, "What evidence do I have to feel this way?" quickly diffused the intensity and duration of anxiety attacks to the point that I no longer suffer from anxiety regularly. For me, it works because, in answering the question, I always come to the realization that my anxiety is unfounded because I actually have a lot of evidence to the contrary.
- Physiological Sigh was introduced to me as a way to improve mood by Dr. Andrew Huberman, associate professor in the department of neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine
- Real Self-Care: Bubble Baths, Cleanses and Crystals Not Included by Dr. Pooja Lakshmin - Buying something or working harder isn't going to cut it.
- How To Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis, licensed professional counselor, mother of two, creator of Struggle Care.