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Self-care in equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice work

Contributions by Liza Talusen, Brendon Jobs, Lauren Brownlee, Rodney Glasgow, Jen Cort, Jenifer Moore, and Cordelia Paige

Liza Talusan joined the podcast, Third Space With Jen Cort podcast to discuss Self-Care

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice Work. During the interview, we thought it would be helpful to crowdsource ideas. Thank you to the unnamed and named contributors including Jenifer Moore, Rodney Glasgow, Liza Talusan, Jen Cort, Cordenia Paige, and Brendon Jobs. Listen to Liza's interview at

If I had five minutes to take care of myself in a challenging situation I would…

  1. Walk away and breathe

  2. Look at pictures of my son, who propels me to keep fighting for what I believe in

  3. Read affirmations, pray, breathe

  4. Close my eyes and breathe. Relax the tension in my shoulders and jaw and practice loving-kindness meditation.

  5. Meditate

  6. Read an affirmation

  7. Deep breathing in a quiet place, a warm cup of coffee or tea

  8. Go to a nearby bathroom, look in the mirror and remind myself that I am My Ancestor’s DREAM. Then take THREE deep breathes.

  9. Practice self-love. Remind myself of a wise friend’s advice in a stressful moment “Don’t feed a barking dog!”

  10. Step away and remind myself of why I do this work and that the journey is a challenge.

  11. Remember to breathe and focus on understanding why this is challenging for me. What is really challenging me about this situation? Just that diagnosis can be calming.

If I had one hour to take care of myself in a challenging situation I would…

  1. Put on some soca music and take a walk (off-campus!)

  2. More than likely write out how I am feeling and share it with my networks.

  3. Go for a walk, take a class, exercise, talk to/meet with my support system

  4. Do a vigorous vinyasa with plenty of downward dog stretches.

  5. Call a friend

  6. Take a walk/exercise or engage with an understanding colleague or friend in the work- in person, by phone, or text.

  7. Grab a cocktail with a friend, take myself out to lunch

  8. Find a quiet space - preferably outdoors - to sit quietly, maybe journal, maybe go to my places of humor online (I follow several comedians), maybe look through my personal photos ... anything to take the time to I remind myself to LAUGH, enjoy nature and realign myself with what makes me uniquely and Blessedly ME!

  9. Take a walk outside (around the campus). Ask a trusted colleague to join me as a thought partner. Eat something! Close the office door and be kind to me.

  10. Take a walk w someone who loves and grounds me. Maybe have an adult beverage.

  11. Take a walk, or sit with a cup of tea, and give myself the gift if I rushed reflection. Too often we jump to action based on emotion, but I find value in slowing down and being able to think more clearly, beginning with understanding the other person’s point of view or the other factors at play so I can see the situation beyond my own reaction to it.

If I had one day to take care of myself in a challenging situation I would…

  1. Sleep in, make a real meal, workout without rushing and get around those who make me laugh

  2. One whole day! If I were on my own, I would go for a walk, soothe myself with favorite foods and beverages as well as read a novel.

  3. Rest, read for fun, do something I love, Spend time with people who love and pour into me.\Sleep, meditate, go for a run and bask in the loving attention of my partner.

  4. Read a book, get a manicure, engage with a friend.

  5. Spa day, visit a neighborhood I don’t know, learn something new

  6. REST! I recently discovered The Nap Ministry on social media and am confirmed in my desire and NEED to simply REST! Rest is the body's NATURAL way for the soul to recover from trauma and stress.

  7. something physical, like take a hike in the canyons (I live in California!).

  8. Hit up a yoga class, get a massage, play with a dog in the sunshine and take a nap.

  9. Reach out to some trusted advisors and get more perspective. Sometimes the challenge in being steeped too much in your own head.

You might be in an unhealthy work environment if you... (for example, feeling there is so much work to do you regularly go back to work late at night).

  1. break out in hives before meeting with certain people

  2. Can't tell your neck from your shoulders because you are so tense

  3. Mail responses gives you anxiety

  4. You acknowledge mindfulness but can't practice it are not given credit for all that I contribute. I.E. if the white man who seconds my thought receives the praise for it.

  5. The work makes you physically ill, You aren't growing professionally and personally

  6. Only get lip service with limited action for preventing people from hurting or harming each other.

  7. Struggle to form a team of folks committed to practicing or even learning about cultural competence.

  8. Feel isolated from or separate from true community engagement.

  9. Don't feel seen and appreciated!

  10. If your work has eclipsed your personal life and you’re no longer taking care of your needs- health, both physical and emotional.

  11. Realize you haven’t spoken to very many people in a given day (esp in schools where we are surrounded by tons of people)

  12. We may be in unhealthy work environments IF we feel tension and lack of trust through-out most of the day. Feel we can't speak our truths at work. Feel unsupported in any way.

  13. I am not an official EDIJ worker - but I'm a Black Person who has spent the majority of my educational and professional life in Independent Schools - so I feel as if I'm an EDIJ "worker-bee", supporting the "hive" of EDIJ. :-)

  14. not have the support of your Head of School; ...can not be fully present with family or friends outside of work.

  15. Feel like you need to protect part of your heart, soul, and or self to make it through the day and survive. Or: going to work each day has a combination of physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual exhaustion that you have to hear yourself up for.

  16. Feel that if something is really bothering you, you could not or would not say anything.

Liza’s Talusan's Advice

  1. Seek help outside of your organization. This can be through therapy, coaching, or support in your spiritual community. Accessing the help of a third party can help bring perspective while also giving you space to process challenges at work.

  2. If you are working in the diversity space, know that conflict is inherent in our work. Find ways to connect with other diversity practitioners who know what you are experiencing. This can feel very isolating, and it often feels like you are going through it alone. I can assure you, you are not alone.

  3. Reprioritize how you are spending your time. While work may be taking up 110% of your time, ask yourself “Is this really how I WANT to be spending my time?” Most folks answer “it’s not how I want to, but it’s what is required of me or what people demand of me.” I think it’s helpful to reprioritize and find ways to be strategic about how you spend your time.

  4. Focus on your physical and emotional health. This work taxes us 24 hours a day. For many of us, we “do diversity work” at work and then we come home and continue to engage in it. This is a tax on our bodies and minds. I’ve met too many practitioners with deep health issues that have formed as a result of the burden of equity work. Don’t die for the cause in this way. Stick around to see it through - and to do that, you have to reprioritize your mental, emotional, and physical health.


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