Self-care. It’s starting to become a buzzword, right? It invokes images of scented candles and yoga mats and cozy nooks filled with pillows, at least if Pinterest has any say in it. People are trying to do more of it, but who knows how much thought is being put into the hows and whys of taking that time to take care of yourself. To be sure, it’s about more than just taking a bubble bath, though sometimes a bubble bath will indeed get the job done.
As a side project I run a small website called selfcare.tech, which is a directory of self-care resources for those in the tech industry. (Though anyone is welcome to use them!) In creating the site a few years ago I learned more about the origins of the self care philosophy. In short, it started in the mental health profession, first recommended to patients as supportive treatment and then to practitioners themselves who work day after day in emotionally and mentally exhausting jobs. After that, activists picked up on it. Self-care became “a claiming [of] autonomy over the body as a political act against institutional, technocratic, very racist, and sexist medicine.” Powerful meaning for the simple act of taking care of yourself.
The idea with self-care is that you put your own oxygen mask on first before you put it on others. Tend your own garden lest it fall to waste. The metaphors go on and on because they’re needed to help people understand how important it is to take care of yourself, otherwise you will be of diminishing use to others you’re trying to help and whatever work you’re trying to accomplish.
So, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Luna Station Quarterly and the stories in this issue. Quite simply, reading for pleasure is an act of self-care. It takes you out of your current mindset and can put you in an entirely different one. It gives your brain something to chew on that isn’t your massively long to-do list or all of the myriad problems in the world. Later on, after you’ve gone back to the real world, those stories you’ve read can filter back into your thoughts. If they’ve been uplifting, fun, exciting, or simply a different perspective on some hard thing you’re trying to do, they can help you work in a healthier and more sustainable way to make your corner of the world a better place for yourself and those around you.
Everyone has to find their own path to self-care. I often choose meditation, keeping up with my laundry and staying organized. Those methods have worked for me, though honestly nothing gives my mind a rest as much as losing myself in a good story.
We all need each other’s strength now and in the coming days as the world feels darker every day. Stories come from a well that runs deep and we can drink from it as often as need be to keep our strength up. As we kick off year nine (oh my gosh, year NINE!) of Luna Station Quarterly, I hope the stories within this issue help you find a way to your own self-care and keep your inner fires fueled up.