By Sarah Muzillo
In the middle of January 2018, we can all probably agree that 2017 wasn’t easy. From 45’s inauguration to legislative attacks on transgender folks to net neutrality’s possible demise and the passage of a devastating GOP tax bill – it was a difficult year.
After a draining and nerve wracking 2017, it’s important for anyone, but especially folks involved in social justice work, to prioritize self-care.
For 2018, I’m planning to make some personal changes. To be honest, I’ve always found New Year’s resolutions stressful and overwhelming. I often set goals that I don’t end up fully meeting and consequently feel disappointed in myself. This year, though, I’m making flexible, realistic resolutions that center my mental and emotional health.
Write Something Everyday
Even if it’s simply free writing, I want to consistently write something everyday in 2018. Writing is cathartic and has been found to relieve anxiety and stress. You don’t have to be a “professional” writer to keep a journal or start a blog. Physical putting your thoughts down on paper (or in a word document) can bring a sense of clarity and understanding.
Reading provides a much-needed escape from our stressful and overwhelming world. I used to read constantly. I always had a book on my nightstand, but once my life became more hectic, I found myself reading less and finishing fewer books. This year, I plan to be consistently reading a book, specifically works by authors with marginalized identities. A few on my current list are Difficult Women by Roxane Gay, The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace.
As a feminist with advocacy and activism experience, I believe it’s important to engage with one’s community. I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when working with others to advance social causes. There are so many ways to impact change locally. Some websites to check out for diverse volunteering opportunities include idealist.org and volunteermatch.org.
Being in nature has always helped clear my mind and relieve my anxiety. Even though winter is approaching, I’m making it a point to brave the cold by taking regular walks in my neighborhood and discovering local parks or nature trails to explore.
Many think a new year’s resolution means you need to “reinvent yourself.” But I think it’s more effective to simply discover ways to improve your quality of life. I’m looking forward to a new year filled with growth and intentional self-care.
These are just somethings I’m embarking on in 2018. How about you?