Today’s Topic: Summertime Self-care 

Today’s Tip: Decolonize your self-care routine by taking a thoughtful and holistic approach to mental and physical wellbeing

Background Information: 

Summer is the perfect time to take stock of how you’ve been feeling since the close of the school year. Maybe you are still experiencing burnout from 2020-21 or are anxious to start prepping for the new year ahead. You may have been thinking a lot about activism, inclusion, and equity. Today we are going to talk about the decolonization of self-care. Self-care has been commercialized and commodified, so in this column, I will be borrowing from (and citing) several activists changing the way we look at self-care practices. One way they do that is by centering black and brown bodies. While many of these practices have been developed by and for people of color, there is much that white people, especially white educators, can benefit from with an appropriate understanding of context. 

Self-care practices:

  1. Rest is good. Society stigmatizes “laziness” and demonizes tropes like the “welfare queen,” but activists argue that rest is a necessary and powerful act of resistance, especially for black bodies. A group that preaches this is The Nap Ministry (@thenapministry). The Nap Ministry normalizes and celebrates naps and rest through powerful messages, activism, and imagery.

  2. Explore self-care from a low-income perspective. Walks and hikes are a great way to get out in nature, breathe deeply, and move your body. They are accessible to many. Check out Disabled Hikers (@disabledhikers) for more information on how hiking trails are being made more accessible. What other low-income acts of self-care could you enjoy this summer?

  3. Dance! Dancing is a fun way to get back in your body. It can be an expression of joy and even help work out minor aches and pains. Put on some of your favorite music and just move. Focus on what feels good (even if you think it looks silly). Think about how often we ask our students to do things that look and feel silly. It’s your turn!

  4. Consider your ancestors. Trauma is passed through generations, and you may be carrying trauma in your body. Think back to your ancestors many generations back. Consider what you know about them (no matter how limited) and imagine how they might have taken care of themselves. This may look different based on time period and location. Could your ancestors have followed any folk practices? What might they have used to restore themselves when they were feeling burnt out or overwhelmed?

  5. Ground and root yourself through healthy activities you grew up with. My family took nightly walks and spent a lot of time in nature. As a result, being outside, whether in the mountains, near the beach, or even in my own tiny backyard, helps bring me back into myself. It calms me and helps me think more clearly. What healthy activities did you engage in as a kid? Which could you still engage in today?

Questions to ask yourself: 

Finally, I’d like to share some questions to ask yourself as you are reshaping your self-care practice to be more inclusive and decolonized. These questions come from Minaa B. (@minaa_b) from The Greatist. 

  1. Do you follow Black and brown therapists, coaches, and wellness advocates?

  2. Do you invest your funds in Black-owned mental health businesses or organizations?

  3. Does your favorite white mental health therapist or wellness coach discuss systemic issues the same way they discuss inner healing?

  4. Do you follow brands that book Black wellness speakers?

  5. Do you support Black wellness brands?

  6. Do the white wellness podcasters you listen to feature only white guests?

  7. Do the wellness accounts you follow only talk about self-care through paid brand promotions?

Take some time to read through the source material below for even more ideas and information. Take care of yourself this summer!


The Nap Ministry (Instagram: @thenapministry)

Disabled Hikers (Instagram: @disabledhikers) 

Manaal Farooqi

Magda Erockfor Ayuk

Minaa B. / The Greatist (Instagram: @minaa_b)