How Activists Organize Self Care and Collective Care?

From TCU Wiki

Who: Dhyta Caturani, Shuba, Sandra Ljubinkovic, Shubha Kayastha (Body & Data)

Date: Thursday, April 30

Time: 11:00am EST / 03:00pm UTC (Other times below)

What: Join Dhyta to discuss how activists see and do care, and brainstorm alternative methods that are rooted in what we value, and is accessible to all.

Issues of care have been talked about among activists, especially feminists. Whilst the awareness of self-care has risen, we still see many activists around us including ourselves get sick, which even sometimes is life-threatening. There's a lot of factors but mostly because of the expectations for us to keep going and we feel guilty if we take a break. This might also because the concept of care is seen as very white and global north centred, thus care become a privilege only to those who can afford it.

Dhyta Caturani is a feminist activist working on issues related to human rights, social justice, civil liberties, sexuality, women’s rights, and violence against women.

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  • Activists feel guilty for taking a break and selfish. They also feel this pressure from the network. Self care is often perceived as selfish and irresponsible Most of us have a hard time practicing self-care. Also, as activists don't know how to ask for help. In some places Global South, self-care is seen as something that the elite does. Also, some activists say they don't have time because there is so much suffering. It takes a lot to say no or detach yourself from the work or committee, especially when you're a young activist and there is so much power play in the community.
  • Our notion of what is self-care makes us think its a certain group of things: yoga, meditation, shopping, etc This is enforced by social media, which has made it a multi-million industry. This is a very capitalistic vision of what self-care is. As a result of this, many of us also think we can't afford it. Also, it's not relatable to everyone, because everyone comes from different cultural contexts. We need to decolonise and deconstruct self-care. Self-care has also become "activities" because required be some funders. How do we bake this in so its not an extra thing we need to do.
  • However, we need to unpack what it means to self-care. Its individual preference and related to pleasure. In this context, women and LGTBQ groups have been denied pleasure. So what does this mean for us? We all use different words and concepts, and thats fine. When we talk about self-care, what we are talking about is what we are doing for our physical and mental health.
  • There is always a constant crisis in our spaces. For some of us, work gives us comfort when everything is falling apart. But how do we do this during times like this? How do we manage crisis? But we need to step back and understand the speed we are running from one event after another. This distracts us from feeling the feelings in the moment. We distract ourselves from feeling. Stepping back and slowing down is soo needed. Not feeling ever or over a period or for a long period of time is what leads to burn out. We also feel we are not deserving of time off, good things, etc. Self-care is also about sustainablility. Do you want to be working and helping for the next two years? Or do I want to keep doing this? Another question that we need to ask ourselves is this something that I need or do I feel like I need to be needed.
  • Creating boundaries. Knowing when to say no is super important for self-care. Self-care gives you resilience to fight long-term.
  • "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
 Audre Lorde When you make self-care as part of practice, you better balance and have more control of
 the work.
  • Friend means different things to different people, especially in this space where everyone is distributed. When I need help in physical space is very difficult to know who to ask for help? We have friends virtually. But when we need immediate help and physical presence, what do we do? How can we help each other?
  • Question is: are you needed, or do you like feeling to be needed. When you say no, it allows others to step in and help. By saying no, you give space to others to step in.
  • Non-linear emotions is really important to recognize and to see that self-care is different for each person. So allowing for that space and recognition to happen. Also, humor, being silly, creating levity, is so important. There is policing that happens in regards to emotions. You can or can’t be happy, etc. You have to be or not be sad.
  • Some teams give people mental health days if they need it. Others, encourage social get togethers on a weekly basis. This can be weekly drinks, going camping together. It is important for leadership to practice what they preach!
  • Creating structure is so important right now during COVID-19. Also, being more open to randomness and not trying to control or fix everything is important.Maybe activism right now is just being slower at your computer. Some activists say that certain funders are keeping rigid timelines, and not being flexible with the current time. Some folks are actually seeing each other more because of the pandemic.

For some people self care can be:

+ hanging out with friends,

+ spending time alone

+ Cooking for yourself or others.

+ Painting

+ Listent to podcasts

+ Watching comedy

+ Sharing selfies

+ Not checking email after a certain hour in the day.

+ virtually every week to share

+ Game nights

+ Avoided saying yes. The only way I could do this was by cutting myself from my phone

Resources Shared:

/Other notes gathered here: