Well… we have passed the anniversary date of the call to shelter in place for the pandemic. 2020 was definitely a year to remember or forget whichever serves you best. On New Year’s Day, I remember a moment of reflection on the year that just passed. I thought if I had to describe 2020 to someone how would I do it? An image came to me, if I had to describe 2020 as a visual it would be a full Porta Potty on wheels engulfed in flames careening down Lombard street. We all stare in horror with every bump thinking, this is it, the Porta Potty is going to tip over and stop any moment now and we can put the fire out, but nooooo it hops the curb and picks up speed. Yeah, that’s how I would describe the year that just kept on punching. We are facing some heavy lifting, with environmental catastrophes, global social justice uprisings, insurrections, unfathomable violence against communities of color and women, a human trafficking crisis, housing, and food insecurities, it is a lot to digest.
How can we engage in the work that needs to be done and not become consumed with grief, fatigue, or anger: “Self-Care”. I know it has become a hashtag, but its importance remains. Self-care is how we recharge our battery; it is how you set down whatever heavy lifting you have taken on in your life and have a moment or two of restoration for yourself. Restoration work begins in us, caring for our mental health and our physical health so that we may be of service to whichever community or cause we are working for. In 2021 with many options for relaxation or fun still closed to the public, how do you self-care? The following is a compilation of resources that can assist in a well-deserved self-care day, weekend, or week!
Getting out into nature is a great option to feel grounded and free. In the Bay area, there are tons of beautiful hiking trails, overlooks, and scenic spaces to spend some time quietly in nature. Some of my favorite spots include:
1. Mt. Diablo Falls Trail, Mt. Diablo State Park
2. Panoramic Hill and Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail
3. Stream Trail via Skyline Blvd.
4. Crissy Field
5. Lover’s Lane, Presidio
6. Battery to Bluff Trail
7. Sutro Bath ruins, Ocean Beach
8. Treasure Island (look for the elusive blonde trash panda)
9. Lands End Lookout
10. Fort Funston
Meditation and music are phenomenal ways to release built-up tension. When I need a clear head, I first meditate to some chill music that may or may not have guided breathing techniques built in. Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music all have huge selections of guided meditation, yoga, and music playlists that do a great job in place of studios and venues that may have offered these services before the pandemic. Building specific self-care playlists can be cathartic as well. Having a playlist to address each mood you want to cultivate can be clutch. Everyone’s self-care looks, sounds, and tastes different finding your brand and nurturing it to fit where you are is key. Be sure to look for events on campus that center on self-care, these events are usually free and come with the added benefit of building community on campus. Check-in with the BRRC and the Black at Cal community, two great resources that have extensive resource guides that often feature upcoming events that center on health and wellness. Also, if music and dance are how you destress check out Afro-Saturdays hosted by UCB NSA. Here is a list of artists I love to build a playlist around:
1. Jamila Woods
2. Syd / The Internet
3. The Buddha Lounge compilation albums (I think there are 8 million volumes of them... I like them all)
4. Ari Lennox
6. Jade Nova
While we drink our water, eat our favorite foods, dance and twirl to our favorite songs, remember to focus on keeping our mental health in peak condition. With all that we witnessed this past year, we all could use an ear to unload some mental baggage. Being aware of when it is time to seek help is not a weakness. The stigma surrounding mental health should be something we avidly work to eradicate. There are many options for keeping your mental healthy, the key is to research the different counseling styles and find one you think may fit you. Some types of counseling styles to look into include:
1. Psychodynamic Counseling. (Psychodynamic counseling is probably the most well-known counseling approach)
2. Interpersonal Counseling
3. Humanistic/Client-Centered Counseling
4. Existential Therapy
5. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
6. Mindfulness-based Counseling
7. Rational Emotive Therapy
8. Reality Therapy
9. Constructionist Therapy
10. Systemic Therapy
11. Narrative Therapy
12. Creative Therapy 
Having in-depth conversations with prospective mental health professionals will normally reveal their counseling style. Just like finding the right rhythm for the rest of your self-care routine, try out different counselors until you find the perfect fit for you. Creating good sleep, eating, and exercise habits go hand in hand with receiving regular counseling. Often, we wait until we are in crisis before we seek help. However, thinking of counseling as preventative healthcare can help us process some issues before they become crises. Self-care is the deliberate effort to care for ourselves, to have quality of life, and preserve energy so we can be ready to give our best in whatever we choose to do. Love yourself to the fullest!
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact one of the following support services:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990
You can also text MHFA @ 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor
California Mental Health Line: 1-855-845-7415. You can use it via telephone or instant messaging. (Mondays to Fridays: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Campus UHS Tang After-hours crisis line: (855) 817-5667
Tang remains open for urgent drop-in during standard business hours (M-F, 10-5pm).
Call UHS Counseling (CAPS) at Tang @ (510) 642-9494
 Heather Lonczak, “12 Popular Counseling Approaches to Consider,” PositivePsychology.com, February 17, 2021, https://positivepsychology.com/popular-counseling-approaches/.