“Free your mind, and the rest will follow”, is so much more than just an En Vogue lyric. It’s an important mantra for good health. And taking care of yourself has never been more important given current circumstances. As you try to survive in these turbulent times, being at your best—physically, mentally and spiritually—can give you the necessary tools to overcome the obstacles facing the black community.
If you aren’t taking care of yourself, who will? And don’t let light pockets stop you – you can make yourself a priority even if you’re not exactly where you want to be financially.
Enough build-up. Let’s go!
Self-Care Idea #1: Support the Cause
Carve out some time each week to support a cause that is important to you. Support your community by supporting local businesses. That alone is enough to give you a feel-good boost.
If you are interested in celebrating independent Black entrepreneurs, Etsy has an amazing list of small Black-owned shops and businesses on their site. It doesn’t matter if you end up purchasing a traditional “self-care” item – the REAL self-care happens in the moment you realize your actions are in direct alignment with your values, and that your dollars make a difference.
But supporting the cause doesn’t need to cost you money – your time is a valued commodity as well. Consider service to others as a step toward your personal fulfillment. There are plenty of opportunities to participate and show support of organizations and causes you vibe with outside of a cash donation.
Self-Care Idea #2: Quiet the Noise
We’re all feeling a little extra on edge right now, and social media can be a major stressor. Disconnecting from social media sites acts as a detox for your system and can free up time to center yourself. And, it costs you nothing! Quieting the noise around you can help you become more conscious of what’s taking place in your heart, your mind and your body. Self-awareness, or mindfulness helps you get in touch with your feelings and understand your thoughts.
If a straight-up social media blackout feels like too much for you, consider limiting your time scrolling. There are plenty of apps that can help you track time spent on social media and start putting healthy habits in place to cut down on screen time.
Self-Care Idea #3: Lose Yourself in The Music
Music is a great way to clear your mind and get lost in your senses. Bobbing your head and singing to the lyrics can help to slow down the world around you and invoke that sense of calmness and clarity.
So take a few minutes to play some of your favorite songs, sing as loud as you can, and dance like no one is watching. Don’t have the perfect playlist? No worries. Tune in to the next Verzuz battle or hop on Spotify or Pandora for curated hits that fit your mood.
Self-Care Idea #4: Keep it Real
Anger. Fear. Joy. Surprise. Happiness. Sadness. We can go through an unyielding range of emotions, every hour of every day. But we don’t have to fall victim to them. Emotional self-care is all about keeping it 100 with yourself: embracing, understanding, and eventually, learning from your feelings.
This starts with affirming your greatness. Tell yourself you matter every day. Think about the things you’ve done in your life that have meant the most to you. Celebrate you. Rinse and repeat on the daily.
Not a mantra person? Take a few minutes to find an inspirational quote that speaks to you. To fight the good fight, a little inspiration is essential. While these quotes were originally published to pay homage to the Juneteenth celebration, you can channel that inspiration 24/7, 365. Nothing strengthens the soul quite like an unbreakable spirit.
And if all else fails, Self.com has a great list of Black mental health resources including people and organizations you can follow on social to help you along your self-care journey.
Self-Care Idea #5: Embrace the Distance
Build up your social strength by deepening your relationships with your crew. After all, nobody will hold you down like your immediate inner circle. Why not learn how to keep the circle tight, strong, and supportive?
You can start by taking a moment to actually express your love to someone you care for. Maybe it’s a card sent by mail with a handwritten note inside. Maybe it’s a phone call to a friend you haven’t spoken to in months. Maybe it’s driving by your friend’s house and leaving a dozen donuts or To-Go margaritas on the doorstep. Not only will these gestures make you feel good, it’s bound to make someone else’s day too and that in itself is enough to make you smile.
One of the realest (and funniest) self-care quotes in quite some time was from Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. If you don’t know, Lynch doesn’t really talk to the media, but when he does, he’s known to drop a gem or two including this mic drop at his presser when discussing current NFL players and retirement:
“I had a couple players that I played with that they’re no longer here no more — so, I mean, you feel me? So you start taking care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies, y’all chicken, so when y’all ready to walk away, walk away and you’ll be able to do what you want to do.”
That is straight up, spot-on advice. Your “chicken” (money) and your “mentals” (mind) are key pieces in your overall wellness plan. In this case, stimulating your “mentals” will help you develop a healthier outlook on your life and upgrade your thinking. It will also help you get that “chicken” more easily.
Remember: YOU. ARE. ESSENTIAL. Never take that for granted. So take care of you.