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84 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k s e p te m b e r/o c to b e r 2 0 2 2 Start a Self-Care Revolution By Heath and Nicole Reed essential skills | SAVVY SELF-CARE CARE-FORCE REVOLUTION It is a revolutionary and evolutionary act to care for yourself in a world of suffering. Each of us has the subtle and potent power to generate an increased "care force" in our own personal nook of the world. It's time to practice being the change you wish to see in the world. You are being called to act. That feeling of overwhelm, brain fog, or fatigue is simply information from your body intelligence telling you when it's time to connect or disconnect with others, move your body or become still, and fiercely recommit to generating greater care for yourself. Investing in ongoing acts of self-care has a butterfly effect, rippling out into your community and the collective. You can be a lighthouse of care that, with practice, is simultaneously kind and strong, nurturing and empowering, tender and fierce. We understand that helping yourself now may seem like a contradiction— unfathomable, ridiculous, or even crazy. That may be influenced by the fact that combining the words self and care into a singular concept is a relatively new evolution in humanity. Self-care only entered the American psyche in the 1950s and did not become mainstream until the past couple decades. Since its circuitous route and ubiquitous status threading through mental health, civil rights movements, self-help, and a multitude of marketing campaigns, self-care has been packaged and sold in ways that sometimes discounts the real-world impact of practicing self- care as a means of facilitating systemic transformation. We advocate that modeling and practicing self-care is one of the greatest positive contributions you can gift to your family, friends, community—and yourself! Especially if you know how to modulate your self-care possibilities along the spectrum from tender to fierce and back again. MAMA BEAR OR "FIERCE" SELF-CARE Many of us have only been practicing one side of the self-care coin: yin qualities like tenderness, gentleness, and stillness. Full- spectrum self-care also requires embracing yang qualities: activating, strengthening, and empowering. Inspired by the book Fierce Lately, it seems like there's a never- ending cascade of threats: a land war in Europe (in the 21st century!?), ongoing and exacerbating climate change, a national or potential global recession, mass shooting after mass shooting, and ever-enduring examples of marginalization. We are living through tumultuous, traumatic times of transition. And if it feels like a lot, it is—and you are not alone. Caregivers are seen developing symptoms resulting from this assault of uncertainty with newly minted terms like "compassion fatigue" and "vicarious trauma." Rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide are statistically skyrocketing, leaving a trail of grief, pain, and suffering in their wake. As caregivers, we are simultaneously in touch with this field of global suffering and our own personal challenges. And as empaths and helpers, we may be particularly impacted by the tumultuous waves of feelings felt from our loved ones and every client we place our hands on. Have you appreciated yourself for all that you have given lately? Take a moment to breathe deeply and smile to yourself for all that you have given. Our drive to give, share, and help is one of the many ways we participate with ongoing suffering. But what if your greatest contribution to relieving community and global suffering is accomplished by taking better care—we would even say "fierce care"—of yourself? ANNA NEKRASHEVICH/PEXELS

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