Self-care can definitely mean Netflix, ice cream, a facial, and bonding with your dog. But before you can tend to your emotional needs, you really just need to make sure you're physically OK, Rashad says. Like, when was the last time you ate? Have you been drinking water? How has your sleep been lately? Keeping yourself well not solely for the purposes of activism but also because you need to live your life — go to work, study, run errands, commute, babysit, whatever — will enable you to meet those next-level emotional needs that require tending to.
Rashad says you can really only function in a state of heightened anxiety for so long. That thing where you chug coffee and run on adrenaline because you have to attend back-to-back protests and then study for your test and then get through a shift at work — you can do that for maybe 48 hours. After that your body will demand rest, food, water, and just general TLC. And your mind will, too.
"There's a point at which you cognitively hit a wall. You actually have diminished effectiveness," if you don't find time to rest and, at least temporarily, take a break from being so engaged, says Rashad.