Living in today’s world can mean being bombarded by awful news about sexualized assault, microaggressions and violence in many forms. All this negative news can be frustrating, overwhelming and downright exhausting. If you’re starting to feel burnt out, you are not alone.
This year, the annual Sexualized Assault Prevention Month campaign is spotlighting the need for self-care. Whether you’re working on the frontlines, a survivor, or just feeling worn out, taking care of yourself is essential to resilience.
On May 14, as part of the campaign, the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre will host an evening all about self-care, empowerment, resiliency and community. Local experts will be sharing their know-how, products and services with a night of presentations and a mini-expo. In anticipation of the event, Some self-care experts and gender equality advocates share their self-care tips.
Jess Stone & Samantha Lacourse
Jess and Samantha both work on the frontlines supporting people and our community. In careers where they are constantly confronted with trauma, and burnout is considered normal, self-care can be critical to being able to survive and thrive.
“When exposed to the amount of violence, racism, systemic oppression as we see day in and day out, it’s necessary to nurture your own resiliency and spread that strength as far and wide as you can.
To be able to continue to work in front-line, crisis support work, I find it is absolutely required to build self-care and community care into the work that I do and acknowledge it for what it is—work.”
Self-care is hard work, but it’s work Jess finds is worth doing.
“It’s extremely hard to get honest about your needs and vulnerabilities and scary life adulting things that seem too steep to conquer, but it’s my favourite way to take care of myself, aside from a piece of delicious chocolate.”
Andrea Stratis runs Andrea Stratis Consulting and helped form the Northern Gender Alliance, a Yukon-based non-profit that works to provide information and services to transgender, non-binary and two-spirit people in the North.
“First and foremost, it’s important to recognize self-care as not being self-indulgent or narcissistic. The hardest part I always have with looking after myself is telling myself it’s okay to take time for it.”
Self-care is an essential part of Andrea’s daily routine and one that has been built up over time.
“A habit I’ve gotten into, thanks to a therapist who pushed me to do it, is writing down every morning how I’m feeling and one thing about myself that I’m aware of that I enjoy. This time can be 10 minutes, an hour, however much time you have. But it’s about taking stock of yourself, spending time with yourself and knowing where you are.
Self-care isn’t face masks and bubble baths. It’s being aware of yourself (and) your emotions and managing those. These are skills I, myself, am also just trying to learn and get better at and that have come through self-reflection, therapy, and also making mistakes and learning from them.”
Fabienne Calvert Filteau
Fabienne will be presenting and offering simple, basic acupuncture treatments at the May 14 event. Fabienne believes in building self-care into our everyday lives and in the power of profound self-compassion as an essential part of the self-care toolkit.
“An ability to recognize aspects of one’s own inner voice that are hateful, self-shaming, self-critical, to see that voice as an amalgamation of harmful external narratives, and to let that voice, or those voices, know that they are not welcome.”
Maureen is a leadership and personal coach who works with individuals, teams and groups to help them connect to their unique selves and their inner wisdom. For Maureen, self-care is about listening to ourselves and noticing what’s taking place in our bodies and minds on a moment-to-moment basis.
“Self-care is bigger than massages, bubble baths etc. It’s committing to finding the time for personal growth and enrichment. It’s loving and valuing oneself at a deep level which, in turn, helps create healthy boundaries, ask for the help one needs and find time to do the things that matter most.
One of the biggest components of self-care that is universal to all is intentionally creating a circle of supportive, loving, like-minded people in various parts of our community who get us, understand the challenges we’re up against as we understand theirs, with whom to share nurturing and support, honesty and clarity.”
An Evening of Self-Care will be held on Wednesday, May 14 at the North of Ordinary Experience Centre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Event details and tickets are available on Facebook and Eventbrite. Visit EndViolenceYukon.com for more information about the campaign.