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Self-care for Migrant Workers

Most migrant workers have to work long hours and give up their vacation days for one reason or another so they barely get any time to rest. We all know how unhealthy this can be. On the other hand, there are others who — after a full week or month of work — just want to sleep on their day or days off. While sleep is great, that’s not the only way we can take care of ourselves.

It’s important for everyone, especially migrants and migrant workers, to practise self-care.

What is self-care?

Simply put, it is taking some time and effort to care for your entire self: your mind, body, and spirit. It is paying attention to all aspects of your well-being so that you can be a healthy person. Self-care is not harmful or selfish. Practising self-care is also a responsibility; a responsibility to yourself.

Why is it important?

Some migrants struggle with the idea of self-care because of the culture they grew up in (e.g. putting others, often family members, before themselves), the need to be as productive as possible due to financial constraints, not knowing what it is exactly, or the belief that it is not necessary. But self-care has many benefits, such as improving physical health, reducing stress, protecting mental health, and so on.

Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are five simple and low-cost ways you can practise self-care:

1. Sing.

Not only does singing help to relieve stress, it can also strengthen your respiratory muscles. There are many other benefits to singing as well.

You can sing by yourself at home or do a karaoke/videoke over Zoom with friends. If you plan to meet with a few friends or go to a place of worship to sing, make sure you keep within COVID-19 guidelines for singing in public spaces.

2. Talk to a trusted friend.

Spend a few minutes on a video or voice call with a close friend. Talking out our worries and fears can help us to process what we are going through, see things from a different perspective, or release stress. Also, sometimes we just need someone who will listen to us without giving judgement or advice to help us feel better emotionally.

3. Try face masks. No, not the kind you need to wear outside! Face masks (aka facial masks or face sheet masks) are used for skin care, such as to help moisturize the skin. Different types of face masks are available in places like Boots and Superdrug and you can often get them for cheap. Using a face mask before bed or when you have 10-15 minutes free can be refreshing and relaxing!

4. Watch something that lifts your mood. Rent a rom-com movie or find a YouTube channel that you like.

5. Make a Jar of Fun. On a sheet of paper, make a list of fun, quick, and affordable (or free) activities that you enjoy doing. Cut the list into strips (one item per strip of paper), fold the strips, and place them in a jar, your jar of fun. Whenever you have some free time and can’t decide what to do, you can take out one strip of paper.

These are just a few tips to help you get started. What are some other ways that you can practise self-care?

This article is part of our #WeAreMigrants campaign in celebration of International Migrants Day 2020.

Sources: 2020. What Is Self Care And Why Is It Important? | BMI Healthcare UK. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 December 2020].

Healthline. 2020. Benefits Of Singing: 10 Ways Singing Boosts Your Health. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 December 2020].

Phillips, J., 2009. Jar Of Fun – The Daily Digi. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 December 2020].

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