It’s been a difficult past few days, to say the least. On top of a global pandemic shaking up our lives, again, we’re reminded of how insignificant we as Black people seem to be. Police brutality and racism, continue to plague our communities. Couple that with the microaggressions we face each day and having to show up despite it all. It’s draining.
Now, being Black isn’t draining, but the world around us can be. So, it’s important we reclaim our mental health, our spirit, in these difficult times.
Black pain isn’t all our story entails.
When I first began to incorporate mental health into the content for AishaBeau.com, I felt strongly about approaching it in a way that is uplifting. And despite just how dark things have been, we must allow ourselves to find moments of joy.
We must give ourselves the space to breathe. To tend to our personal needs and prioritize rest. Our sanity, is of the utmost importance, especially right now. So, grant yourself permission to feel something other than despair.
Limit how much media you consume.
Yes, the news and updates are in the palm of our hands, plastered on our televisions, but we have the power to limit how much we consume. I know there’s a certain guilt that comes up when you aren’t staying on top of every single alert or engaging in every single conversation, but know that it’s okay to step away.
For a few minutes, or even a few hours, allow yourself to unplug. To give yourself a break from the rapid-fire new developments and try to clear your mind. This doesn’t make you any less concerned or invested, it makes you human. And it allows you to continue to show up to the best of your ability.
Practice deep, focused breathing.
Deep breathing is one of the most underutilized forms of stress-relief. It’s free, easy, and something we innately do, but often take for granted.
During these breaks or in moments where you’re feeling most agitated, taking a slow, deep, belly-breath is a great way to help calm your mind and body.
A deep inhale, held for just a few seconds, followed by a deep exhale can work wonders. So give yourself this gift of breath.
Lean on your community.
You are not going through this alone. It may feel as though everything is happening so quickly, and that you may not be doing enough or saying enough, but it’s okay to let those who love you know that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Open up to those closest to you about how things have impacted you and you may be surprised to find that you aren’t the only one.
As humans, we crave connection, and realizing that you aren’t alone at this moment may help you to feel less anxious. Especially during a time in which we’re practicing social distancing, it’s easy to get caught up scrolling and scrolling instead of actually communicating.
Allow yourself to feel joy.
Now, this is where the real guilt kicks in. Despite all of the negativity around you, your personal life may actually be in a good place. You may have recently accomplished something, or have something exciting coming up.
This is the time, more than ever when you need to allow yourself to feel that joy. Don’t suppress it in fear of looking like you don’t care. We’re so much more than our pain. And by giving yourself the opportunity to be happy, to laugh, to celebrate, you’re showcasing that.
Even if you don’t have something specific to celebrate, you’re still allowed to feel gratitude. To feel blessed to be alive, safe, healthy, and have those who love you. Embrace that, embrace those moments of comfort to help you better cope during this time.