Self-Care Tips for Vegans—Because Haters Gonna Hate
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been practicing self-care since before I knew it was called self-care. Whether by walking in the park, treating my hair with coconut oil, or simply making my bed, I’ve found small ways to take care of myself for years. Growing up, self-care helped me deal with anxiety, depression, and identity issues. As an adult, self-care has helped me deal with everything from financial hardship to trauma. Clearly, my self-care game is strong—but after enduring my first holiday season as a vegan, I had to switch things up. I veganized my self-care routine to deal with anti-veg nonsense.
I got the idea over Christmas, after about the fifth “Can you eat that?” had me thinking some uncharacteristically sarcastic thoughts. Then one of my loved ones started talking about “humane slaughter methods,” as if that’s a real thing. Oh, and then someone responded to my self-proclaimed love of vegan coffee creamers with “Sure, keep telling yourself that.” Suffice it to say, the holidays were a bit rough on me this year. Fortunately though, self-care is basically magic.
Here’s how my self-care routine has changed since I became vegan. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me!
Try New Recipes Often
I know how convenient alternating between frozen vegan dinners and the same three vegan recipes is. I also know this isn’t the most empowering, delicious, nutritious, or sustainable way to be vegan. Variety is key when it comes to plant-based diets, and more recipes means more options. So take time to experiment in the kitchen. Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort. And it’s fun!
Master a Few Vegan Comfort Dishes
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or for your omnivorous loved ones, comfort food always seems to be a good idea. If you grew up eating biscuits and gravy, learn how to veganize the savory breakfast dish. If you think your family might enjoy a good vegan pizza, work on your plant-based pie-making skills. Master as many vegan comfort dishes as you can, and you’ll never buy into the myth that vegans are “missing out.”
Veganize Your Social Media
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If you use social media, you should definitely explore all the vegan awesomeness that Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook offer. Not only are these platforms wellsprings of vegan knowledge (like how to make your own vegan mac and cheese); they also provide inspiration and comfort when you need them most.
Also, know that it’s completely reasonable and valid to unfollow people who post pictures of dead animals on their social media accounts. I’ve had to unfollow several people simply because it upsets me to see their hunting and fishing photos. I don’t feel even remotely guilty about it, and you shouldn’t either.
Visit a Farmed Animal Sanctuary
If you live near a farmed animal sanctuary, go visit it. Whether or not you consider yourself an “animal person,” meeting animals who were rescued from slaughter will probably bolster you. And if you don’t live near a farmed animal sanctuary, here’s the next best thing.
Have a Script, If It Helps
I’ll be honest; I don’t always respond to negative comments about veganism. I express myself best through writing, and sometimes removing myself from a conversation is the healthiest choice. But there are a couple of questions and misconceptions surrounding veganism that I’m always prepared to respond to, which usually helps me feel less nervous about walking into a room full of misinformed omnivores. If you can relate, you might want to consider preparing a few respectful responses before your next event. For starters, check out this article on how to have a conversation with a meat eater.
Spend More Time With Your Companion Animals
Not all vegans share their homes with companion animals, and that’s OK. If you do have animal friends at home though, consider it an act of self-care to spend more quality time with them. Not only are companion animals our buddies, but many studies show that hanging out with them is literally good for our health. People who share their lives with cats tend to have fewer strokes, and people with cats or dogs usually have lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s hard to spend time with animals and not feel affirmed in your veganism. After all, farmed animals and companion animals are alike in all the ways that matter.
Explore Vegan Media
No matter where you are on your vegan journey, there’s a whole world of vegan books, films, podcasts, websites, and magazines to explore. Whether you want to learn more about factory farming, the link between animal rights and civil rights, or how to get enough protein from a plant-based diet, there’s a blog out there to help you.
And if you feel like you could use some extra support, head over to ChooseVeg and check out the meal planner. Whether you’re still emotionally recuperating from the holiday season or you’re just sick of seeing dead animals at the grocery store, take time to recharge. Veganism is a lifestyle of kindness after all, so be kind to yourself.