What’s the deal with self-care?

Self-care is important.

We’re not just talking about getting a haircut, facial, or a manicure. Those are all forms of self-care, sure. But we’re talking about the kind of self-care that fills you up and fortifies you so you can continue to be the best you that you can be while supporting others in being their best selves. All of that allows us to engage in and build this project with authenticity and respect for one another.  

In community work, we take care of other people. In order to be able to take care of other people, we first must be taking care of ourselves. The clearest example for this is that you can’t pour from an empty cup. This means if you have nothing left to give, you can’t give it. That way leads to burnout. Exhaustion. Dissatisfaction. And sometimes calling it quits altogether. 

No one wants to be in that state. We should continue to embrace, improve, grow, and uplift the WordPress community in the special way that each of us do. So let’s talk about how to make sure our cup isn’t empty.

Say no mindfully

Be aware of your bandwidth and what you have to give; say no to taking on additional work when it isn’t the right thing for you. You never want to say no to helping others, but it often helps to reframe it by reminding yourself that when you say yes to one thing, it means there are other things you are going to have no choice to say no to down the road. 

Ask yourself: In saying “no” to one thing, what am I saying “yes” to? Or vice versa.

For more on the importance of saying no, check out our handbook page on this topic.

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Ask yourself what you would tell someone else

Sometimes, we are all hard on ourselves. And when we do that, that’s a choice we make. But sometimes we have to step back and look at everything on our plate, both professionally and personally, and realize that there’s too much. 

For example, if a Supporter has a headache and a day full of meetings, it is their inclination to just find a way to power through. But if any of their teammates or mentees let them know that the same was happening with them, they would insist immediately that they take some time to rest and feel better. A headache or being physically exhausted or ill is an easy example, but it’s just as important to give yourself that break if you are upset, stressed, anxious, or just plain overwhelmed. 

Check in with yourself: How are you today? What would you tell a friend, teammate, or colleague? 

Give yourself the same grace you would give to someone else you care about.

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Do something nice for yourself

It might be a haircut and a nice lunch out, or it might just be finding time to go on a walk, draw a picture, or straighten up your surroundings so you feel better about them and yourself. It might be sitting in a park watching nature. It might be drinking one more glass of water a day. Find something that you need to do for yourself that will help you feel better, or happier or less stressed and do it. Little things can count here just as much as big things. It might not necessarily be something you want to do. But maybe it’s something you should do. Like taking a walk, getting some exercise, having a side of veggies with lunch, or starting your day with a healthy breakfast. 

Think on it: What’s one kindness you can give yourself today?

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Say something

People don’t always notice when others are overwhelmed, overworked, or burned out. Some folks handle their stress and workload silently and seem to carry it with such grace that others may not notice that they’re under stress. “Holding up” to stress doesn’t mean you should have more of it, it just means you’re good at fooling people into thinking the stress isn’t there. If you’re struggling say something. Ask others in the community to take over responsibilities that are causing the issues or aren’t right for you. Let folks know that you need a break. Ask for help getting some space or solving a problem that’s standing in your way.

Delegate: What is something on your plate that you might share with someone else to lighten the load?

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Wrapping up

Taking care of oneself is absolutely a critical component of being able to take care of others and build a healthy community. We hope you all keep that in mind in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Each of us here is critical to the success of this project, and self care is critical to surviving and succeeding over all. 

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