The History of Self-Care
The “radical” concept of self-care was born during the civil rights era, a time when brave individuals were fighting the relentless enemies of prejudice and discrimination. These American heroes created the first real communities of care, standing strong together in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and unspeakable treatment.
It can’t be lost on us that one of the concepts they were fighting for was (and remains) the basic human right to self-care. People of color were often denied medical treatment at hospitals and healthcare centers. The government had turned its back on them. Self-care, quite literally, became a matter of life and death. They were fighting an exhausting battle and the only support to be found was in each other and within themselves.
The basic idea of being able to care for oneself, of having the time, money, and resources necessary to do so, was born out of the civil rights movement.
How to Build a Self-Care Movement
1) Let’s destigmatize mental health. We need to change the way we look at mental health and make sure every person has access to the caregivers, transportation, treatment, and funds needed to properly address mental health.
2) Commit to sharing your self-care knowledge.
3) Help define the standards.
4) Understand that exhausted leadership is poor leadership. Exhaustion leads to shorter attention spans, increased emotional volatility, and poor decision making—Not exactly the qualities of a great leader. That’s why it’s vital that our efforts in leading the self-care movement are sustainable. If we burnout, it will be replicated by our staff, volunteers, children, and others in our sphere of influence. To create a culture of self-care we must be willing to model a sustainable work pace.
5) Ask reflection questions to yourself and your team.
The modern self-care movement needs to start as a practice to avoid burnout, rather than as a response to it. The movement must demand that individuals put their health and wellness first without feeling guilty for doing so.
To read more of the Mindful.org Guide, please click here.