Self-care: we've heard the term, scrolled through suggestions, and read the how-to's, but now it's time we developed our own non-negotiable routines if we have any chance at surviving these next four years. While every individual's personal needs are different, I have to say that reading should be considered essential self-care for every activist and resistor.
Since the November election, and especially in the last few weeks since the administration's takeover of the White House, I feel like I've been on constant overload. Whether it's another shocking news report, a less-than-shocking tweet, or a mind boggling press conference, I'm inundated with political news, nearly all of it negative. When I am not absorbing the news, I'm trying to help change it by showing up to protests and rallies, calling and writing my representatives, organizing meetings, and I am far from alone in this experience. People around the country are showing up every day to protest the current President's political agenda, but how long will it be until the exhaustion sets in? In our current hostile climate, resistance fatigue is not an option, which is why self-care is important now, more than ever.
Although I found it hard to turn the news off and put the rally sign down at first, I've learned these last few months that, as Audre Lorde so perfectly put it, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” My own self-care practice involves a healthy dose of yoga, regular walks in the woods with my dogs, and at least an hour a day unplugged from it all, but one of the most important parts of my routine is reading. A book-nerd from birth, I've always loved getting lost in a good story, but now the time I take out of my day to relax with a book is more than just my leisure time. It's my own personal brand of self-care that allows my body to rest, my soul to heal, and my heart to grow, one page at a time.
I've always believed in the magic of reading, but now more than ever, I turn to the power of books to keep me motivated to show up and resist, every day. If you're not so sure about it yourself, here are my 5 reasons for why reading should be considered essential self-care for every activist.