Sharing is caring. Team Tectonica’s self-care practices for inspiration
December 22, 2021
Contributors: Team Tectonica
With our lives having changed so much over the past few years, it’s no wonder self-care has become such a widely-discussed topic. We have had to slow down, reflect, and rethink the ways we deal with stress, which has reached an all-time high due to the many crises that we now face, both as a society and as individuals. As another year ends and we now prepare physically and mentally to start anew, we are rethinking once again the meaning of self-care. In this, our last newsletter of the year, we decided to share the self-care practices of some members of Team Tectonica to inspire you for the New Year. We would love for you to reach out to us and share your own practice.
Weronika, Organising Network Lead
This year felt for me like a secondary level when it comes to better life balance and regenerative habits. The pandemic was not a surprise anymore and I was able to make progress with the routines and habits that I started developing in 2020. I like to think about self-care practices in two categories. One category consists of things that I try to include in my life on a regular basis:
- Feeding my body and my soul with quality “food”. For me it starts with basics like eating a meal without screen time, sharing a few meals weekly with people I love and treating myself with nutritious food that my body likes. And then being intentional about what I read, watch or with whom I spend meaningful time with.
- Prioritizing physical activities. It could even be a long walk with a dog and my neighbor. What works for me, is making a physical activity also a social one. So recently doing some yoga classes together with 3-4 friends at one house works perfectly (and it is harder to cancel last minute).
- Limiting my media intake and screen time. Especially in the last hour or two before going to sleep. I have a rule of entering my bedroom with my mobile on airplane mode. I also try to prioritise reading longer political analysis over following daily news events.
The second category is for times when I know that I am not doing well anymore. Then I introduce an emergency mode that consists of meditation (even though I know it works for me, it is still hard for me to make it a regular daily practice), writing down stuff that occupies my mind before going to sleep, and gratitude practices to focus on what’s good which can be sharing with my close ones things that I appreciate in the day that is passing or writing down a few sentences before going to bed.
Auwlyee, Director of Project Management
- Let emotions run through you and let them go: There are times when the stress of the pandemic and the anxiety that this generates clouds our emotions and causes us to panic. In this case, it is necessary to understand what is happening to you, and for this, you have to make room for this emotion because all it wants is for you to recognize it.
- Always, always, listen to yourself: because we are running with the day to day, adding stress from the emotional and work to our lives, sometimes we forget to listen to ourselves and what our body and mind are really asking for. When you are at a point where you find yourself saturated, stop for a moment and ask yourself what do I need now? What is my body asking of me? Sometimes the body just wants to stop for a bit and do nothing. Doing nothing is part of the self-care we have to do.
- Enjoy the process and let it be: I think this has been one of the most important moments for internal care. Although it is difficult, you have to enjoy the process and let it be. Emotions such as stress, depression, joy, euphoria, all are valid emotions that are here to make us grow in some way and for them to flourish and grow in you, you have to give them their space. Once they are ready because you already understood and were able to recognize them, they will go away by themselves and you will not realize it, but always thank them for the knowledge they bring. Keep in mind that we are not alone in this, many people have this internal battle, so, be kind to others.
Filipa, Community Associate
Reflecting on the words of bell hooks, self-care for me is a way to search within myself, to bear with my own emotions and thus become more aware of the world around me. Here are my favourite self-care practices right now:
- Meditation. I try to meditate at least once every two days. Exercising mindfulness and letting go of negative thoughts, gives me the energy and balance I need to go through the many social interactions online and offline during the day.
- Building up healthy habits. I always enjoyed a good walk and doing sports but now I am purposely incorporating them into my weekly routine. Especially after a stressful day, there is nothing better to clear my head. In addition to getting more exercise, I have become more aware of how I sleep and what I eat and drink. I drink more water, green tea, get vitamins to reinforce my immune system, etc. Building up healthy habits allows me to add some small structure to my otherwise chaotic life and reduces everyday stress drastically.
- Surrounding myself with positive people. I have discovered that other people’s emotions do affect me. While I always try to be there for my family, friends and even good acquaintances whom I feel I can help, I try my best to put up healthy boundaries especially with those who are more eager to be naggy. Don’t get me wrong, nagging can be useful too but as always there needs to be a balance. By surrounding myself with positive people as well, we share in motivating each other to action and looking at the brighter side of things.
- Leaving my work laptop at the office. We work with people in many different time zones and work schedules and it is often that I receive an email, for example, that I feel compelled to answer right away. But there is a reason we don’t work 24/7 - our body and mind need rest to actually work more effectively. I have learned that sometimes “sleeping on it” might be better. Giving myself the time needed to recover for the next day is essential for being fresh and focused in my work. Leaving my laptop at the office mentally helps me recognise that I am not at work anymore and should leave working for when I am there 100 percent.
Ned, CEO & Co-Founder
- Going off Facebook. I left Facebook behind last February and my overall wellness has seen an undeniable impact. No more doom scrolling. It takes a bit more effort to reach out and catch up with people individually, but it's been an incredible change for me personally. (My only regular social media these days is Instagram, and I try to keep that limited as well).
- Morning practice. I wake up at 6am or 6:30am every morning. While this seems horrible to a lot of people, it allows me 30 minutes of meditation, exercise some mornings, and time in the office for focus before others start to arrive. While transitioning to this might feel costly at first to some, it's a huge part of keeping myself feeling good throughout my day.
- Acknowledging I have a body. I’ve always been the type of person who gets a bit stuck in my head. Famously physically uncoordinated, I tend to approach every problem analytically, and this has also had a tendency to cause me to ignore my body. This year I realized my body is my connection to the present moment and the world (see meditation practice above haha) and that it's not to be ignored. From healthy eating to intermittent fasting, to regular exercise, acknowledging my body and its care has come into focus big time this past year.
- Surround myself with plants. My home and particularly my terrace is a verifiable jungle of sorts in the centre of Barcelona. Certainly being surrounded by living beauty is key to my feeling good, but also the act of caring for the plants themselves is something I find helps me appreciate the present moment. Of course, getting out into the mountains, the beach, or any natural surrounding is also key (and luckily easy to do here in Barcelona).
- Forgiving myself. From allowing things to ‘go out’ imperfect, to breaking any and all of the practices above when needing to do so, in order to feel better, giving myself allowance to let go at times is one of the best self-care practices I’ve developed. I’m working on more flow and less force in my approach, but it's a work in progress as I’m naturally a very intense person.
Julia, Executive Assistant
In normal times:
- Exercising away from my phone. I used to go to the gym for an hour everyday, but it wasn’t until I decided to leave my phone in the locker that I started to see the benefits of doing so. Being away from WhatsApp and Instagram interactions and from “the outside world” for that tiny bit allowed me to focus on myself and care about nothing but that. Lose your fear; there are very few things in life that cannot wait for an hour.
- Allowing myself a little treat. Whoever knows me well is aware that I love cooking… and along with that, I love eating as well! Whenever I’m stressed or have had a bad day, I love going to one of my go-to places for treats and allowing myself one of those, trying, at the same time, to get rid of the guilt of skipping healthy eating for a day! (Extra tip: here are some of my go-to places in the cities I’ve lived in recently! In Madrid, meringue buñuelos de viento from Pomme Sucré are to die for, though all pastries from Pastelería Mallorca are not falling behind. In Brussels, cronuts and doughnuts from Coco Donuts are a must. In Barcelona, the croissants from Brunells are always at the top of my list).
- Going for a walk. Sometimes the easiest and most common things are the best option - going for a walk does the trick for me. I love walking without an actual destination through the city while listening to music I like (and yes, that sometimes means listening to the same song you’re obsessed with at the moment over and over again).
While in lockdown:
- Making sure I get a good laugh everyday. I once heard that “laughing makes you live longer”, and I certainly take that very seriously. I love taking some time everyday to listen to comedy podcasts. The selection in Spanish is very wide and I follow many of them as it’s definitely one of my favorite genres. Alternatively, watching comedy shows is a great remedy as well, and 20-minute sitcoms work perfectly for this purpose.
- Trying to learn something new everyday. During lockdown last year I often ended up finding myself in weird Wikipedia loops: one article leads to the other, and you started looking for information on an actor and ended reading something on how bees communicate with each other. While this could sound very weird, maybe because it basically is, that allowed me to learn something new everyday… And is a tradition that I have embraced ever since.
Mariana, CCO & Co-Founder
- Understanding that work is not everything: putting work at the centre of everything in one’s life might be tempting when you’re an introvert like me (especially if you’re a first-time immigrant queer that gets very anxious about the slightest chance of socializing). COVID showed me that there can be too much work, and left me craving social interaction for the first time in my life.
- Developing better sleeping habits and a morning routine: going to bed early and waking up before sunrise have had the magical effect of adding hours to my day. It just became clearer to me that I felt very comfortable exchanging hours from the night for more hours in the morning since the latter feels much more productive to me. Exercising, reading, and writing: all those things I didn’t have the energy to do at night are just easier in the morning.
- Walking and getting a bike: I always loved taking long (sometimes very long) walks, but Buenos Aires (my former town) was not always the best place to do it - noisy, crazy transit, etc.). Barcelona, on the other hand, is the perfect city for long strolls. You can walk from downtown to a national park in a little over two hours, and bike lanes make it very easy to explore hidden places of the city. Wandering works wonders for my brain.
- Pen and paper: Writing is one of my favourite activities, and I have consciously made space for it in my mornings. You don’t have to be a writer to put down your thoughts on a sheet of paper. It’s truly liberating.
- Leave Facebook: seriously, Facebook is a true soul killer and we should all walk away from it for good.
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