Flex self-care challenge #2: Tackling trauma


“Just like scheduling your time and energy engaging with tough stuff, you can lighten your emotional load by unfollowing people and accounts that don’t benefit you.”

A set of Flex-approved challenges to help you build self-care into your routine

Being a human being is exhausting, and being a human being in our current climate can feel damn near impossible. Our collective hearts are breaking as we battle systemic racism, fight against COVID-19, and navigate the uncertainty of unemployment and a brand new world. 

We definitely don’t have all the answers, but we know that, like during airplane turbulence, it’s important to put your own mask on first so you can better help those around you.

This week’s self-care challenge is meant to help you balance taking care of yourself and taking care of others. Let’s get started.

Day 1: Schedule

Being stuck inside with social media right now is a blessing and a curse. It’s easy to get caught up in reading crazy tirades or deeply upsetting, valid accounts of terrible things happening around the world. 

It can also feel impossible to decide how much money, effort, or time you’re spending in giving back and fighting for what is right, to the point where you’re constantly exhausted (and rarely as productive as you could be). 

Our first challenge for this week is to give yourself a schedule of activism and engagement with emotionally-draining conversations and media. We know that many don’t have the privilege of being able to turn this off, but it is important to protect your free time and energy as much as you possibly can. 

Give yourself a budget for each day, or even each week, for how to spend your time and resources. Here are some examples of how you might make sure you’re giving back without giving up your own sanity:

Example plan 1:

  • News/Media: One hour per day
  • Monetary donation: $50 per month to a cause of your choice
  • Other support: Attend one protest, digital town hall meeting, or other change-making event.

Example plan 2:

  • News/Media: 30 minutes per day
  • Monetary donation: N/A
  • Other support: Purchase items from your favorite minority-owned businesses, watch YouTube videos that support the Black Lives Matter with ad revenue, drop bottles of water and nonperishable snacks at protest sites.

Example plan 3:

  • News/Media: Two hours per day, limited to hours before 5:00 pm so you can decompress before bed
  • Monetary donation: $150 per month; $50 each to three worthy causes
  • Other support: Get carryout from your favorite Black-owned restaurant

Day 2: Unfollow

Just like scheduling your time and energy engaging with tough stuff, you can lighten your emotional load by unfollowing people and accounts that don’t benefit you. 

This can be different for everyone. Those Instagram accounts that make you feel like you’re not pretty/thin/stylish enough? Unfollow ‘em. That racist relative that ruins Thanksgiving every year? Un. Foll. Ow. 

You can even do this on Facebook if you think that straight-up unfriending them will cause a rift in your friend or family circle. Your exes, old bosses, or memories of rough times past can all be removed from your timeline with a few taps of the screen. 

And while removing them from your social media obviously won’t remove them from having an impact entirely, taking control of who and what you interact with can help you restore control and power over your day-to-day emotions. It’s all about proactively managing the energy that surrounds you. 

Day 3: Go…Nowhere

We’ve all been stuck inside and at home for awhile now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere. This day’s challenge is about going somewhere (safely) with no destination in mind. Think of it as a form of meditation — letting yourself wander without any purpose other than giving your mind a break.

You can use this challenge to go on a long drive listening to your favorite music with the windows down, treating yourself to a walk or hike, or just going for a stroll around the neighborhood. By giving yourself a chance to simply exist without having to achieve a goal or reach a destination, you can give yourself a much-deserved mental breather.

Day 4: Support

Times are tough as hell for all of us, but COVID-19 has seriously done a number on small businesses across the world. One super-easy way to support your favorite local shops, restaurants, and businesses without spending a dime is to write them positive Yelp or Google reviews.

As we all well know, reviews can (for better or worse) make or break a business’ reputation, and great reviews can mean better sales and more love from the community. Whether you had an amazing customer service experience, the best Pad Thai of your life, or just enjoy getting your produce from local vendors, showing your support with a digital review is a high-impact, low-effort way to make a difference.

Day 5: Hydrate

We know it seems silly (or redundant), but making sure you’re giving your body the hydration it needs is very important. It also happens to be something a lot of us forget to do because we’re too preoccupied or busy. 

There are some great water tracking apps that’ll ping you with reminders to take a sip if you feel like you need an extra nudge. You can also keep it simple and try to drink a glass or two before you take your lunch break, a glass or two before dinner, and then a glass or two before bedtime. 

You can definitely still enjoy coffee, wine, and whatever other drinks you love, but take this day (or week, or month) to focus on hydration with plain old water as your number one priority. You may just find yourself paying more attention to your other needs because of it.

Day 6: Learn

Being stuck at home while trying to figure out a chaotic world can make us feel…well…stuck. Take some time this week to learn something new. You can take this as an opportunity to educate yourself on how to be anti-racist, reduce your impact on the environment, or support the LGTBQ+ community. 

Of course, if you feel like you’ve met your quota on emotionally-heavy stuff (see Day 1), you can also learn something random and fun that you’ve always wanted to try.

For example: Check out some amazing art classes on Udemy, brush up your high school French with Duolingo, or try your hand at beginner pilates. Whatever you try this week, do your best to go into it with zero expectations. Remember, you’re not mastering it, you’re learning it. Go easy on yourself.

Day 7: Primp

It’s probably been a long time since you’ve dressed up, felt amazing, and gone out to strut your stuff. But just because you’re not going out out doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to feel awesome about yourself. 

At some point this week, dress up, do your hair, put on makeup/jewelry/lingerie/whatever else makes you feel amazing, and take some damn good selfies. 

Whether you choose to post them on social media (or send them to your sexting partner) is totally up to you, but taking the time to feel good about yourself just for the sake of feeling good about yourself is something you 100% deserve. And then, when you’re feeling low, you’ll have some feel-good pics of yourself to look back on to remind yourself how incredible you are.

Check out the other Flex self-care challenges:

Self-care challenge #1: Mastering the self-care basics

Self-care challenge #3: Take care of that booty

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