About self-care essentials

About Self-care Essentials

Stress is a part of all our lives, whether we like it or not, and every profession comes with its own set of stresses and rewards. We face stress from many factors: individual, organisational, and societal, among others. Stress that builds up over time leads to feeling fatigued, physically, mentally, emotionally, and could reduce our ability to be interested or motivated in areas that deeply engaged or inspired us – a state that is called burnout.

Stress and the scope for burnout are high among those who do people work, especially on sexuality issues.

In TARSHI’s many years of work in this area, we know that the scope for burnout is rather high among those who work closely with people, especially on gender- and sexuality-related issues which are taboo in Indian and south Asian societies. Often, people work entails listening to and engaging with experiences of others in difficult circumstances, sometimes with little that one can do to reduce the pain of the other person. Additionally, those working on such issues may have also come to it because of a calling, which connects the issue closely to their own lives as well, making it difficult to prioritise self-care. Activists and people from marginalised communities are especially likely to put stress management and burnout prevention on the back burner. Read more here.

This website was put together as countries worldwide went into various stages of restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing millions into precarity in terms of health, finances, and livelihoods. Those doing people work had to contend with increased vulnerability of the people with whom they worked, with working from home/limited mobility, and with the stress of health and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

With this website, we want to help those doing people work put self-care front and centre – because you have the right to self-care and wellbeing. And because stress or burnout will only reduce your ability to help others.

Is stress management and burnout prevention only an individual concern? No. 

Stress management and burnout prevention are not just the responsibility of individuals. Human beings are part of an ecosystem, belonging to multiple institutions – families, workplaces, movements, larger societies, to name a few – read more here, about how this means it is not just an individual’s responsibility to manage stress. Some larger sources of stress are beyond our immediate control – say, patriarchy, ableism, homonegativity, caste-based discrimination, and more. But that said, institutions such as our workplaces and collectives play a vital role in reducing our stress. That is why, this website features information and resources on Collective care too. To learn more about factors that cause stress and burnout among individuals, especially those in people work, read this report from our work with Nazariya.

How can this website help you?

Think of this website as a guide or companion in your self-care journey, which would have likely started before this website came about and that we hope will continue long after!

This website is full of ideas, resources, and readings that can help you:

  • Understand how, when, and why something affects you and causes stress
  • Go within to reflect on your values, motivations, desires and challenges in your growth, health, and wellbeing. Understand how any differences between your realities and your values, motivations and desires may be linked to stress
  • Based on this awareness and reflection, identify areas that are in your control and take small steps – both at the individual level, and at a collective/organisational level – to reclaim parts of yourself that you feel you have left behind
  • Reflect on, and take steps around, how our immediate environments can be improved upon

This website seeks to help you pause to relax and breathe, to reflect on why you’re here today and where you want to go hereon. It contains many things that we hope will make you smile, unwind, introspect, enjoy, and motivate.

Some elements are for you to use individually, while for some others, you can invite a friend or a colleague along.

And other elements are for you to consider for your organisational or collective space.

The website has been put together keeping in mind those who do people work, but we believe the contents are useful to any individual in any space, whether formally employed or otherwise. 

That said, the website or its resources may not be a substitute for therapy or any other professional help one may require for their mental health and wellbeing. The contents of the website are also not intended for use by anyone below the age of 18.

All content on this website (that is not hyperlinked to external sources) are under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 4.0. If you like our resources and would like to them use them, please do so with due credit to TARSHI and a linkback to tarshi.net/selfcare. We’d be delighted if you would consider making a donation too (for Indian donors only)!

This website was possible due to the efforts of many people, especially Medha Kalsi, Ramya Anand, Vani Viswanathan from TARSHI, and Vinita Saxena, who worked on setting up the website backend. We thank Prabha Nagaraja from TARSHI for her enthusiasm, ideation and reviews at all stages, as well as the rest of the TARSHI team for their rigorous feedback and support at various stages of the website’s creation. We thank Sunita Bhadauria for her help translating some of the website content into Hindi. We are grateful to Shraddha Kutty for designing some of the beautiful elements you see across the website. We finally thank Amplify Change for their funds, which made this website possible.

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