There is a certain degree of resilience necessary to manoeuvre through the world at present. As though all that is happening around us is a thunderstorm in which it would be foolish to leave the house without a coat or an umbrella. Your protective layer if you will, that enables you to battle through the wind and rain, is the energy and time that you are pouring into yourself. It sounds indulgent and selfish but, in order to be the best activist, friend, employee, human-being that you can be – you must make time to look after yourself. I know, I know you’re supposed to be selfless – pounding the streets, donating to food banks, doing the weekly shop for your aged neighbour, all whilst smiling and pretending that you haven’t heard question number 5 ‘What is the capital of Turkey?’ 500 times before. It’s a lot. Coronavirus is a lot. Systematic racism is a lot. Zoom is a lot. Dismantling your white privilege is a lot. Experiencing racism every day is a lot. Not going fucking stir-crazy is a lot. Holding down a job is a lot. Being suddenly unemployed is a lot. Graduating university during a global pandemic is a lot. Not seeing loved ones is a lot. People dying is a lot. It’s ok to need to take five minutes to run a bubble bath and listen to Joni Mitchel. You can still fight the system, avoid a deathly virus and stay partly sane, all whilst dipping your toes in warm soapy water. I urge you to plug yourself in – you will run out of battery life eventually.
The first thing I do when the world feels heavy and overwhelming is find space, both physically and mentally. I take myself away to my room or a quiet space that feels safe and secluded. I close my eyes and I clear my mind allowing thoughts to rise to the surface – as though they were bubbles in a glass of champagne. Often, I don’t want to sit still, I don’t want to look within and I definitely don’t want to provide space for the thoughts that have been hiding in the shadows of my mind. But, to stop for ten minutes and to reconnect to the stillness that can be found within yourself – is never a negative way to spend ten minutes. It enables me to re-set, to assess and to take on challenges with more calm and clarity. Without this, I’m a headless fucking chicken.
Making time in your day to do things that bring you joy, is also an amazing way to show a duty of care to yourself. If you’ve ever taken care of a child you’ll know that the joy they can find in the smallest of things is an essential part to ensuring their happiness. Sit back and really think: “What makes me happy?” It could be something small, like a warm cup of coffee or a hug from a loved one. Whatever comes to mind, write it down and create a list, a list of all that is good in your world that brings you joy. No matter how bleak your surroundings there is always light to be found. The world is sad and heavy but you must not feel guilty for feeling joy, for finding light in the darkness, for that joy is hope and hope is the very thing that enables us to continue through the storm. Today I’m going to play music really loud and dance like I’m at a festival in the early hours – a little tired with a lack or rhythm but a full lust for life.
You know what’s coming next. FOOD. Eat properly. Fuel your body. Spend time cooking – it’s not wasted time to pour attention and detail into the food that goes into your body. If we are what we eat, then now more than ever we need strength and nourishment. Spending your days pouring love, advice, wisdom, accountability, questions into yourself and others requires a hell of a lot of fuel. Please don’t feel guilty for affording yourself the time to nourish – not only with food but with time and relaxation. On average, people are feeling more tired throughout this lockdown period than they do in every day life. Just because you’re at home does not mean you are not exerting yourself. Yes, there is a lot to do, but you cannot act to the best of your ability if you are burnt out. Invest in yourself as well as in the future of society at large. Needing rest and space is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you are functioning to full capacity.
So yes, invest in the future, protest at the weekends, work Monday to Friday, speak to your loved ones, help in your community, inform yourself on all that is happening in the world but, know that this comes with a weight, that will pile high on your shoulders unless you make time to digest. Take care of yourself – this is the only way that you can manoeuvre through the storm with strength and resilience. Sometimes, you need to put yourself first in order to better the way that you look out for others.
I know, its a short term fix to a long term problem – I will not cure a pandemic or break down systemic racism by baking scones BUT I will feel stronger, more content and re-fuelled to try my best at tackling the aforementioned challanges.
G’s Self-Care Scones.
350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
squeeze lemon juice
A handful of raisins/currents/cheese/choc chips/cheese (all of none of the above)
1 beaten egg
jam and clotted cream, to serve
I know, I know I’m vegan – but if you hadn’t already noticed there’s an apocolyptic feeling in the air and sometimes a girl just needs a scone.
1. Put on this song
2. Pre-heat the oven – 180 ish
3. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
4. Add the butter and rub together, using the tips of your fingers, until it looks like bread crumbs – then stir in the sugar and the raisins.
5. Dance around the kitchen and don’t bother washing the flour off your hands.
6. Heat the milk in the microwave so that it is luke warm, then add the lemon juice and the vanilla extract.
7. Set aside whilst you grease a baking tray.
8. Make a well in the middle of the dry mix and pour in the lemon-y milk until you have a nice dough.
9. Scatter some flour on the work surface and fold the dough 2-3 times until it feels less sticky.
10. Use a cutter or just pull off scone shaped blobs of dough and place on the greased baking tray. Brush the tops with the beaten eggs.
11. Give your scones a kiss and put them in the oven.
12. Wash up because it will make you feel better but dance whilst you do so.
13. After 10 mins check the scones – if they look delicious take them out of the oven, if they look a little floppy then leave them for an extra few minutes.
14. Depending on your filling – top with whatever you want, butter, jam, cream, marmite, chutney, more cheese. Whatever you need to make you feel whole.
15. Pop your feet up and indulge in 10 minutes of uninterrupted wholesome snacking.
YOU ARE WELCOME xx