Winter care, for ourselves and our communities

December can be a rough month for folks. We’re with family or we’re not, and both of those options can come with heavy baggage. The world, by me at least, is getting colder and there’s a definite bite in the air. Color is seeping out of the landscape like a Polaroid in reverse.

Are you looking after yourself?

The phrase ‘self-care’ has been heavily co-opted by companies selling complicated skincare products to white ladies, but the case was argued by women who knew their shit. Like Audre Lorde, for example, who wrote that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”.

More radical still is the current reframing around community care. Instead of privileging stoic self-reliance, community care reminds us to open ourselves to caring for one another, and to bravely ask for what we need.

Unsurprisingly, I think play deserves a place in this conversation.

Valuing play reminds us that survival isn’t enough. The smallest among us need chances to thrive, to celebrate and explore and express. To dare, in and with all their senses. Play can form a bridge, between people and one another, and each of us with the world. Play can remind us that we are not alone.

In our darkest months, how can we shine a light for one another? How can we take care of ourselves, and lend a hand to others when they can’t?

One thought on “Winter care, for ourselves and our communities

  1. I read something great about self-care the other day, which of course I can’t find now, but the gist was that in addition to not being about expensive treats, self-care also can’t be about opting out of responsibilities (as in, I’m not going to work today, for self-care). I think that’s a hugely important point–that self-care is sometimes about the boring structures we put in place so that we don’t NEED to take a day off every week, or whatever. I think play (as opposed to “fun” which, in its incarnation for adult women, doesn’t really appeal to me), can be an enormous part of achieving this balance.

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