BLACK MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS: SELF-CARE DURING A TIME OF SOCIAL INJUSTICE
Whew! It’s been a rough couple of days across our entire nation. I would say that before now, I had gotten pretty good at navigating my blackness in this world. I pushed myself to the edge just to make sure that I was a “good” student, a “good” employee, a “good” member of society. Giving every effort (outside of friends and family), not to let too much blackness shine through. This past week, I was pushed to my limit.
If I’m honest, I don’t feel like smiling right now. It’s exhausting to show up on Zoom calls pleasant and making small talk. It’s tough to show up for work each day when your mind is fully consumed with what is happening in our community, and its nearly impossible to focus on tasks that seem insignificant. All while still living in a global health pandemic. It is completely draining!
So many of us have been connected through overwhelming anger, sadness, and suffering. But sometimes, amid the fight, we don’t feel the pain.
We are fighting for justice in this world, fighting for equality at our jobs. We are fighting for our lives. We worry that if we stop momentarily and divert our attention to the aching, we may crumble. The truth is, there is immense strength in the pause. During these times, we have to protect our mental health. “Self-care is how we take our power back and go farther.”
Here are a few reminders:
PAUSE To Cater To Your Basic Needs
Pouring into yourself is vital. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, food, water, and exercise. If you need a day off, take the day off. A mental health day is just as crucial for your body as any other sick day.
PAUSE To Detox From Social Media
Social media is a great way to bring communities together, and it is important to stay informed. However, excessive use can trigger increased anxiety, depression, and isolation. Set some boundaries for your media consumption. Your brain needs a break from the information overload. Log off. Delete the apps. Give it a break, at least for a few hours.
PAUSE To Celebrate Black Culture
As people of color, it can be difficult for us to find spaces to rest and breathe easy without the fear of being labeled or judged. It is essential to remove yourself from images of trauma and seek empowerment from celebrating what it means to be black. Support black-owned businesses and creatives. Remember, switching your focus for a bit does not mean that you don’t care.
PAUSE to FEEL
What you feel is an expression of your heart and your mind. Whether you are feeling angry, sad, confused, or anything else, know that you are allowed to feel this way. What you are feeling is valid; take the time to acknowledge it. There is power in naming what you feel so that you can move towards healing practices to restore yourself.
When you live in a world where your life is not valued, valuing yourself is advocacy. Self-care is the foundation of community-care. When you thrive, our communities thrive.
Step into your healing. Step into your power.