The M Dash

For the Woman with #BetterThingsToDo


Amanda Nguyen’s Menu for Self Care

Filed in: Your Brain

Our latest Remarkable Woman, Amanda Nguyen, seems completely unflappable—unless she’s driving a golf cart backwards through Camp David (more on that here). Below, she explains the details of her “Menu of Self Care,” which she created to manage stress while advocating for the civil rights of sexual assault survivors through her nonprofit, Rise. We’ll have what she’s having.

A FEW YEARS AGO, I created something I call the “Menu of Self Care.”

It’s a menu of options broken into three categories: “hors d’oeuvres,” “small plates,” and “soul food.” Every day, I try to have one thing from each category.

Hors D’Oeuvres: Something quick, like going outside, texting a friend, or doing a face mask.

Small Plates: Things that are a little more time-consuming, like, hanging out with a friend or watching a movie.

Soul Food: Something bigger, like planet hunting. I studied astrophysics in college, and it really helps to look at the stars with my telescope and be reminded to take a breath. Another activity in this category is composing. Piano brings me calm, and writing music helps me relieve stress, which sounds nerdy, I know—but it’s the truth.

Before I created the menu, I would get stressed out a lot, and forget to take preventative measures. Then I would feel guilty for not doing self care, which would make me double-stressed.

The menu helps prevent burnout and provides a reminder of things I can do to make myself happy. Anybody can customize it based on what works for them. Pick and choose from each of the categories, depending on what you need—just try to hit all three every day.

Read Amanda Nguyen’s full profile.

Photo by Jody Rogac


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