Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Short List of Self-Care Resources

Navigating the world of self-care information can at times feel like a cruel joke on account of how much crap is out there. So at the request of a friend, I've put together a short list of self-care related resources that I've looked through and give my stamp of approval.

Books and Online Resources:
  • Developing Your Self-Care Plan – A good place to start. It’s worth taking time to holistically assess what you’re already doing, what domains need more attention, what sorts of obstacles you face, and creating a plan to build healthier habits.
  • 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul - An article with a list of some simple, practical suggestions for self-care (if you just want some easy ideas).
  • Self-Compassion – Variety of resources (e.g. mindfulness exercises, psychoeducation, and writing exercises) for developing self-compassion.
  • Mindfulness Muse – Blog with practical and accessible information about mindfulness related topics.
  • Tiny Buddha – Resources for information and guidance on wide variety of topics, ranging from peacefulness/mindfulness, love and relationships, health, work fulfillment, etc.
  • Images and Voices of Hope – A collection of Restorative Narratives (stories about recovery and resilience) that can counterbalance the deluge of distressing stories we’re exposed to and provide powerful sources of inspiration.
  • The Happiness Trap – Self-help book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for dealing with mood and anxiety. There’s an online program you can sign up for, too.*
  • The Mindful Way Through Anxiety – Self-help book for dealing with anxiety, website has guided meditation supplemental materials.*
  • Centre for Clinical Interventions’ Self-help Workbooks – Self-help treatment modules for a number of mental health problems: Assertiveness Training, Depression, Body Acceptance, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Self-Esteem, Bi-Polar, Disordered Eating, Panic, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, and Generalized Anxiety*
  • Resiliency Building Skills to Practice for Trauma Recovery – physical exercises that teach the nervous system to be more flexible and rebound from activation sooner.*
* These modules and books are time intensive and geared toward addressing mental health disorders. They can be helpful supplements for therapy and/or cheaper/easier options if you don't have access to therapy.

Contextualizing and Identifying Limits of Self-Care

In order to best appreciate what it means to engage in self-care, we sometimes need to understand its limits and the risks of not challenging an oppressive or hostile environment.  If we’re simultaneously being told we’re responsible for taking care of ourselves while also being exploited (i.e. over-worked or under-supported materially or emotionally), this is a problem that we ignore at our own peril. 

The following articles explore some of the wider political contexts and power dynamics that impact what “self-care” means for us, and especially for people with marginalized identities (e.g. people of color, LGBTQ+, women, disabled people, immigrants, etc.):

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