Emotional self-care gets a fair amount of publicity within the BDSM community. Most frequently, it comes in the form of advice or classes on how to avoid drop, whether it be top drop, sub drop, or, con drop, though there are also other flavors. I equate that to taking your car in to the mechanic when something needs to be fixed. But what about regular tune-ups to make sure everything is running as it should?
I realized a need for this in my life a while back. The symptoms of not doing this regular maintenance were similar to those of drop- generally “down” mood, increased irritability, and lack of energy and motivation.
Eventually I solidified a three-part plan to help me keep my head well-lubricated:
- More introvert time. While I very much enjoy social events and activities, they drain me. I need time to recharge. That means being alone and having free time. I may go out mountain biking and enjoying nature, or I may stay inside, put on some jazz, and have some tea. Most typically, I’ll need to set aside an entire day or two for this, though having just a few hours can help as well.
- Going to more concerts. Strangely enough, this is good for my head. I say “strangely” because I listen to a lot of metal, and most people wouldn’t equate going to a metal show (and especially getting into a mosh pit) as something good for one’s head. The day after the last show I went to (Eluveitie) I was still completely jazzed all throughout the day. And it gave a substantial boost to my mood for weeks after.
- Not getting involved in other peoples’ attention-seeking behavior. Especially online. It’s tempting to want to argue one’s own opinion. Lots of people vomit up their beliefs all over the internet but then get offended (or start throwing around accusations of censorship) if anyone disagrees with them. Others may back a cause that is very worthwhile, but they do so in an unnecessarily shitty manner. Before, I’d spend lots of time composing a reply, then edit and re-edit, post, and continue following up and responding. I’d waste hours on this, and I’d only have simmering aggravation within myself to show for it. They didn’t change my mind and I didn’t change theirs. Now, I walk away. I close that tab in my browser. I get back to enjoying my life and let the internet venom-mongers argue among themselves.
These are only three points of action, but they’ve made a huge difference in my mood and sense of well-being. This approach has also had the added effect of making con drop after large weekend events less hard-hitting. I recover better and more quickly. I encourage you to do the same, even if your methods may differ. Find out what works for you. Get away from the daily crap for a while. Get your head back together on a regular basis, not just when vacation time rolls around. It makes more of a difference than you might expect.