Naomi Ortiz talks self-care for social justice at TFOB

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Photo Illustration by Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat

Books on the shelf at the UA Main Library on March 9.

Naomi Ortiz is a writer, poet and visual illustrator who will be discussing her first book, “Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice,” at this year’s Tucson Festival of Books. 

Ortiz said she got “burnt out” working as a social-justice activist and vigilante and realized that she was not properly caring for herself. She wrote her book for people who are involved with helping others and the world around them, in the hopes that they will find ways to also help themselves.  

“In doing that work, I became really curious about self-care, because it was just a thing that was always getting a lot of lip service but never really happening,” Ortiz said. “People would talk about wanting to do self-care, and then we didn’t support each other doing it, nor did people really take the time to take care of themselves.”

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Ortiz interviewed 30 activists from all over the country on their thoughts about what self-care meant to them. She came up with seven different types of self-care, which she discusses in her book. 

“What’s marketed to us in self-care is really limiting … and I think people were getting really frustrated with the lack of information about the types of self-care, so that’s how I came to writing the book,” Ortiz said. 

While writing the book, Ortiz tested all self-care methods herself and described her experiences in the novel. People were asking her questions, so she thoroughly researched everything to be as comprehensive and accurate as possible.

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Ortiz said she thinks sharing her procedures with her readers will help them connect more to the material and will be easier to follow than a typical self-help book. 

“When I went to write my book, I really want to write about my process of going from the beginning to the end in the example I share about figuring out how to tune in to my needs,” she said. “I really wanted to create a structure for other people to get to know themselves better and do that work.” 

She will be featured on the panel “Nurturing the Diverse Soul” Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m. at the Nuestras Raices Presentation Stage.


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