Self-care is SO important for everyone - but particularly for sex workers. The job can be mentally and physically demanding - what with performing (in whichever way you do), marketing, answering questions, finances etc. So in order to help you to be the best you, self-care can be a great addition to your routine.
It’s not all bubble baths and spending money on retreats, meditation, and such - there are lots of ways to undertake self-care, and we’ve got a few ideas of what would help service providers improve their self-care!
What is Self-Care and Why is it Important?
Self-care is defined as ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.’ (Oxford dictionary) and it is an activity that can produce positive feelings, boost self-esteem, and increase confidence.
What are the Categories of Self-Care?
While everyone debates the number of categories of self-care, we’ll focus on the types of self-care activities, which include:
- Mental self-care - things that stimulate your mind and intellect
- Emotional self-care - things that help with caring for a whole spectrum of emotions
- Physical self-care - things to do to improve your physical health and well-being
- Social self-care - things to do which will deepen and nurture relationships with other people
- Practical self-care - things you can do to fulfill the core aspects of your life and that can prevent future stressful situations
- Spiritual self-care - things that allow you to think bigger than yourself. This doesn’t have to be religious, but for some people, it can be
Do I Need to Have a Specific Self-Care Routine?
If you find that routine can be beneficial - go ahead and set yourself a routine. A routine could be doing a specific set of activities, or even doing a specific set of activities at a specified date and time, such as having a routine to end a working week.
Things to do for Self-Care
Set Professional Boundaries
It can be difficult to separate work and non-work time, but if you are able to do this, in whatever way you can, this is incredibly important to do. Being ‘always on’ is a big barrier to mental and physical self-care.
Build a Stress-Prevention Toolkit
Think about the things that help you during times of stress, and ensure that you implement them when you feel as though you need them.
Find your Social Support System
This is so important and doesn’t have to be in person. There are lots of great places online to make sex work and non sex work pals - forums like Lyla, chatting on Twitter, Instagram, and many other places!
Take Measures to Protect Yourself on Social Media
We’ve got a great guide on online safety and privacy for sex workers - it’s worth reading and ensuring that you’re implementing as many of the recommendations as you can.
Don’t Ignore the Physical Demands of the Job
Sex work is TIRING! Whether you’re providing in-person services, online chat, creating and selling photos, and video - all of this on top of marketing yourself and arranging bookings - tiring work! Take breaks as and when you need to, and
Come up with a Healthy way to Process Negative Work Experiences
If you’ve had a bad experience with a client, potential client, or something else related to work, it can hit hard. Find a way to deal with these in a way that works for you - whether it’s venting to an understanding friend or fellow service provider, or implementing a specific routine to get your mind off of it.
Keep your Vanilla/Non Sex Worker Friends Close
We know that not everyone understands sex work, but it’s important to keep those vanilla friends who love you, who understand it and support you because not everything needs to be about work.
Try to find a Sex Work Affirming Therapist
This is incredibly important. Finding a good therapist can be difficult, and if you then find that they don’t understand or agree with your choice of work, that’s not a good therapist! If you’re struggling with finding one - get in touch with fellow sex workers, or contact a sex worker outreach service such as Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Butterfly, or a local service like Peers Victoria Resources Society.
Give Yourself a Break if You’re Working Through Internalized Sex Work Stigma
If you’re struggling mentally and can afford to do so, having a break might help you to figure out the best avenue to advance down. This might be a change from in-person work to online, or stopping sex work altogether (temporarily or on a more permanent basis)
Also, keep in mind that it’s okay if you don’t love your work!
Things to Buy to Help With Self-Care
We don’t recommend buying ALL of these things, but if you’re looking at treating yourself, here are some ideas of things to buy to help with self-care:
- Something to wear that you feel confident in
- A journal to plan your time or to write in
- A sex toy of your choice
- Something to help you get into character for work
- Some really good tea (or another drink you love to stay hydrated) and a nice cup to drink it from!
- A stress ball
- A handheld back massager
- An ice roller
- A weighted blanket
- Sheet masks
- A bunch of flowers or a house plant
- Bath products, such as Epsom salts, bath bombs, and a bath pillow
- A subscription box of things you’d love to receive - such as beauty products, snacks, or even a specific self-care one
- Fitness products to help you with your physical fitness - whether that’s a jump rope, pull up bar, yoga mat, or foam roller!
- An essential oil diffuser or candles in the scent of your choice
Absolutely Free Self-Care Ideas of Things to do
We’ve just mentioned some things you could buy to help your self-care routine, but you don’t need to spend money to enhance your self-care. Here are a few free self-care ideas for you to try:
- Make a cup of your favorite tea
- Sign out a new book from the library and read for fun
- Take a nice bath with products you already have
- Do a Youtube yoga video
- Do a DIY face mask
- Take a walk/jog around your neighborhood or a place you enjoy
- Check something off your to-do list
- Take 15 minutes and straighten out a room in your home (because clutter can seriously impact our stress levels)
- Visit the local animal shelter and spend some time petting puppies
- Have a video call with a friend or loved one
- Listen to a podcast
- Do some gardening if you have a garden
- Unplug from social media for the day
- Cook a healthy meal at home
- Listen to your favorite album or a playlist of your favourite songs
- Go for a drive
- Clean out your closet and donate and/or sell what you don’t want
- Paint your nails
- Make a mood/inspiration board for your goals
- Teach yourself something new! There are lots of free tutorials on YouTube, for example
- Have a movie night with friends
- Plan out your outfits for the next week
- Write down five things you’re grateful for
We’d love to know all about how you invest in self-care - let us know your thoughts by Tweeting us @VIP_Favours!
Want to read more? How about one of our other blog posts:
- Dating and Relationships as a Sex Worker
- Sex Work and Sex Worker Hosted Podcasts You Must Listen To
- Our Top Sex Work, Sex and Adult Industry Blogs