I recently shared a self care exercise you can use to identify your recipes, remedies, rituals, and resources for self care.
Today, let’s try another exercise taken from “The Revolution Starts with Me!: Recipes, Remedies, Rituals, and Resources”, a workshop I co-facilitate with Adaku Utah.
When I facilitated this exercise a few weeks ago with the staff at Reproaction, I adapted it to fit the organization’s self care needs, rather than have the staff complete the exercise individually. This exercise, adapted from the MS Society of Canada, is can found in our self care zine. If you already have the zine, pull it out and follow along, (or you can get a free copy when you sign up for my weekly newsletter.) Like the previous exercise, this exercise can be done individually or by a staff or group.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Get a whiteboard or some surface that’s big enough for your group to write on
- Find some erasable markers, enough for everyone that’s participating (and make sure they’re erasable if the whiteboard you borrowed doesn’t belong to you)
- Divide the whiteboard into four columns and five rows and label them, like above
Identify self care activities to Start Doing, Continue Doing, and Stop Doing:
Now for the clarification:
Start Doing- Activities you want to do that promote positive ways of taking care of yourself
Continue Doing- Activities you currently do that promote positive ways of taking care of yourself
Stop Doing- Activities you’re currently do that hinder your self care (and leading to burnout)
Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual/Woo Woo are pretty self explanatory, but I also want to suggest that Social can also mean Community, in the collective sense.
Reproaction staff dived into this activity and really filled out the board. For example, they routinely post articles related to Reproductive Justice and intersectionality on the organization’s website, and also on social media. They identified this as something they can Continue Doing to promote Intellectual self care. Slacking on self care during major organizing campaigns is something Reproaction wants to Stop Doing because it impacts the organization’s Emotional self care. Also, explicitly acknowledging their staff when they take risks (even when those risks result in failures) is an Emotional self care activities Reproaction wants to Start Doing.
Other ways to do this activity
Adaku and I usually facilitate “The Revolution Starts with Me!” in activist settings, and the Start Doing, Continue Doing, and Stop Doing exercise is done as an individual exercise, rather than collectively. Feel free to use sheets of paper instead of a whiteboard.
Here are some examples for completing this exercise individually:
- Start Doing/Continue Doing- Reading 2 books a month for pleasure
- Stop Doing- Self sabotage by rejecting new opportunities
- Start Doing/Continue Doing- Physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day (any kind that you love to do so that working out doesn’t feel like a drag)
- Stop Doing- Excessive alcohol consumption or overeating (Bonus: If this is the case for you, start identifying what triggers you to drink heavily and/or overeat)
- Start Doing/Continue Doing- Meet with your therapist on a bi-weekly basis
- Stop Doing- Negative self talk (Bonus: When negative self talk occurs, ask “Is this true?” (from Byron Katie’s “The Work”)
- Start Doing/Continue Doing- Hosting potlucks and dinners for friends, family, and community
- Stop Doing- Back and forth social media exchanges with non-like minded people (or trolls)
- Start Doing/Continue Doing- Prayer or meditation for 5-10 minutes before starting your day, and before bedtime
- Stop Doing- Surrounding yourself with people who routinely engage in negative self talk (as they say, you are the sum of the five people you regularly hang out with)
RAISE YOUR VOICE: What activities can you start doing, continue doing, or stop doing to promote self care? Share below in the comments section.