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Black women are tired.
Many of the women in my community are increasingly terrified as they struggle through an unexpected pandemic and a heightened visibility of police violence.
Social media, once a place of entertainment and digital mapping, has become an endless scroll of overviolent images and social-justice content—constantly being posted and reposted.
Black women are being forced to pick between their Black realities or their Black joy, not fully realizing that we can have both through self-care—which is where the real Black Power lives.
This time hasn’t been easy. Before the world turned on its head, I had been diligently working on building a solid self-care routine.
Self-care is a wonderful, flexible term; it includes any activity that can be used to calm, heal, and preserve ourselves in the face of adversity.
Here are several of my self-care practices that have aided in my sense of calm and happiness:
Before COVID-19, I was, what I called, an occasional meditator. I didn’t practice regularly, but when life forced a more slow-downed routine, I started practicing meditation as a daily morning and midday practice.
Meditation has allowed me to be nothing and everything at the same time.
I find midday meditations to be the pause that I need to realign myself.
Some of my favorite meditations are from:
Shelah Marie’s Meditation Mixtape:
and Brocollete’s Re-Fresh:
Every morning, for the past year, I have risen to walk with the rising sun.
I walk with an organization called Girltrek, the leading Black women’s health organization in the United States.
Walking every morning allows me to stay present; it deepens my connection to my body. I thrive on high-levels of dopamine and walking daily allows me to have that.
I also alternate my morning routine with bicycling and socially-distanced Zumba classes in the park.
I created an affirmation wall in my kitchen. On the wall, intermingled with my favorite pictures of myself, I have affirmations such as “I anchor my breathing,” or “I am essential,” or “I am loved.”
Affirmations allow me to reframe and redirect my thoughts toward something more positive.
I am currently working through Alexandra Elle’s book, Today, I Affirm: A Journal that Nurtures Self-Care. It helps guide me through my emotions and prioritize the meaningful things in my life.
Gratitude reminds me to be in deep appreciation for all of the things that I have, for the people who show up for me, and my beautiful life experiences.
Every morning, I say three to five things that I am thankful for—life, resources, community, or discernment—out loud.
I also have a blessing’s jar. I write down one blessing in my life every day and stick it in the jar. Whenever I get a little down about the world, I pull out some of the blessings to remind myself of all the tangible and intangible things that I have within and around me.
Before quarantine, I had about eight plants. Three months later, I had about 20.
I love sitting in the midst of my plants, as plants improve your overall health. I can attest that my plants reduce my stress levels and boost my mood.
Sometimes I find myself sitting still, focusing on my plants, and a rush of calmness washes over me. As a single woman without children, taking care of my plants allows me to feel like I’m nurturing something that nurtures me in return.
Isolation forces us to remember.
For many people, that is not always the best feeling in the world—especially if we’re doing it on our own.
Many of us were used to outside distractions that kept us from remembering. As a Black woman, the world demands so much of our labor—rest has allowed me to be gentle and soft with myself.
I have used this time to rest and restore, as I understand that this is all temporary. I may never get the space to have this amount of time to rest again.
I deserve all of it, and so do you.