Here’s how you can take care of your health after a long day of protesting in the streets

By Nicole Ganglani | Art by Tricia Guevara | Photo by Hybrid/Unsplash

Protesting in the middle of a public health crisis is risky. Aside from possibly contracting the coronavirus, participating in a protest can be physically and mentally draining. This is where self-care comes in—you need to make sure you’re still prioritizing both your mental and physical health amid these challenging times. Here’s how you can take care of your health after protesting in the streets. 

 

Head straight to the shower 

Since you were surrounded by people, the first place you should go to is the shower. Taking a shower, specifically a cool one, will remove the chemical compounds (or germs) on your skin. If you’re not a fan of cold showers, you can switch to warmer temps after drenching yourself in cold water. Licensed therapist Kaleigh Mancha told Self.com that people can take this time in the shower to take a break from reality as well. You can try practicing breathing exercises or imagining the water droplets rinsing away your stress and anxiety to help your body wind down. 

 

Make sure to hydrate and eat right after

If you didn’t eat or drink enough water throughout the day, make sure to make up for it as soon as you get home. Ideally, drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water  within an hour will fully replenish your body. You also have to avoid taking in fast food and eat a well-balanced meal instead. As we said before, a well-balanced meal consists of carbohydrates (to restore your energy), protein and fruits or vegetables. 

 

Avoid spending too much time on social media

Spending too much time on social media will only trigger anger or negatively affect your mental health, especially if you follow news about the coronavirus or political matters. Scrolling through news updates could likely increase your post-protest adrenaline, anxiety or trauma, which could possibly affect your emotional and mental well being. It’s advisable to protest and use social media as your source for news but make sure to give yourself a break. Too much could possibly overwhelm you and affect your mood or mental health in general.

You can try coming up with a specific window for when you can or can’t use social media. Find ways to keep yourself informed but at the same time occupied so you avoid spending too much time online. Try devoting your free time to meditation, yoga or physical exercise, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says can lessen stress during this challenging time. 

It’s advisable to protest and use social media as your source for news but make sure to give yourself a break

Ice your feet or any body part that may be irritated

Foot aches or body pain are common after a protest since you’ve been walking and standing the whole day. Ice your feet to prevent inflammation. Another suggestion is to stretch or engage in yoga exercise (child’s pose, matsyasana and Sukhasana pose are the easiest option) to treat  achy, pulsing and inflamed muscles.

 

Get a good night’s sleep, and then fight again

Feeling the after effects of protesting (stress, anxiety and fatigue) is unavoidable, which is why you have to come up with strategies to sleep better. The WHO recommends to disengage from social media or eat nutritious and filling foods instead of sweets or chips so you don’t get a sugar rush at night. You can also try to engage in intentional movement exercises like yoga or stretching since it relaxes your mind and body, resulting in better sleep, which is really the best way to recover from a taxing day.