Self Care For Us: Are You Checking in With Yourself?

I read somewhere that self care is “trending” and it made my stomach turn because the conversation seemed to gear more towards it being something that will go out of style. Self care is way more than just a fake presentation that you might post on your Instagram of you taking a bubble bath with a glass of wine and the hashtag #selfcare. In fact, self care is vital to your survival as a human being, and should be taken very seriously; not merely as a trend.

Self care is important to our mental health, especially as Black people, because, it’s a known fact that our problems in life are very different than others. However, we all can relate to wanting better lives for ourselves, working to make money to pay bills and hopefully take a vacation, as well as taking care of our families. Taking are of our mental health looks different for all of us, especially because we each deal with different things on a daily basis, however it is necessary for all of us.

What we really need to understand is how we can take care of ourselves mentally and practice self care, specifically for us as Black people.

Recently, the world has been waking up to a lot of unfair treatment to not only Black people, but people in general, thanks to social media. Folks that were unaware of the violence in the world finally got their bubble popped, and those who just didn’t want to see, have been forced to see. This hasn’t helped at all for anyones mental health, mainly if you are a person that cares about the world and people. From 2020 to now, we have come face to face with stress from the coronavirus, changes to our entire life operation, and dealing with continued racism. Our lives have truly been tested and our need for peace of mind has been even greater. Everyone is either dealing with loneliness, sadness, anger, anxiety, etc, and it’s time we learned how to deal with it in a healthy way.

As Black people, it’s draining to continue to educate, uplift, and continue our day-to-day activities amid protests and our work schedules without occasionally taking a step back to elate ourselves.- CORTNE BONILLA (Allure Magazine)

,Keep Your Family & Friends Close

There’s something very comforting in knowing you can turn to your friends and family in times of need. Whether it’s just a simple conversation, or hanging out and experiencing each others company, regardless it’s important to connect with others. As necessary as it is to have friends and family that support you, make sure you have the right friends and family. Loved ones that aren’t judgmental, have good energy, and truly love you are the people you want around you and only those people.

You definitely don’t want someone who is constantly stressed out to be in your own stressed energy. How does that work? We all know misery loves company, and it’s been my experience that most of the time, people are so hooked on their own problems, that they barely listen to yours or even help to tackle yours. Complaining about the situation doesn’t solve anything, it just makes it worse. You want people in your life that don’t mind lending an ear, giving valuable advice, or just holding you and reassuring you that everything will be okay. This isn’t to say that you should only confide if you are going through tough times, even if you are in a good mood, pick up the phone and tell that person you love them. Spread that good energy around to your family and friends. You never know what they are going through either.

Get Out of the House/ Get Exercise

I get it, the Coronavirus has us not wanting to be out in the open for fear of getting sick. Some of us have been cooped up in our homes for so long, we don’t even know how to associate with the outside world. However, getting out of the house doesn’t mean you have to socialize with large groups. You can simply go for a walk, a hike, take a scenic drive, or find a spot away from civilian life and have a solo picnic. The sun is our friend and kisses our skin as if it was a mother kissing her new born baby. Take a break from social media!

“Get out of the house, talk to a therapist, create a new routine, journal, talk to your friends, families, and lastly, reach out.”- Ashley A Nazon (clinical social worker) Allure Magazine

Did you know that the Japanese government has a preventative health strategy that they have been using since the 1980’s called “shinrin-yoku”, meaning “forest bathing.” It means being in the presence of trees, not like hiking or camping but just being there.

A 2010 study in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine found that spending time in nature leads to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure and a lower pulse rate. Your anxiety literally goes all the way down and could disappear entirely.

Get Plenty of Rest

Our bodies use sleep to rejuvenate. It goes through a series of changes allowing the brain and body to slow down and recover, promoting a better mental and physical performance the next day. We have all heard that the most sleep you should be getting is seven to nine hours.

Skipping out on sleep can lead to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes etc.

If you can, taking naps throughout your day aren’t a bad idea either.

During this time it is extremely important for people, especially Black people, to recharge and take a minute to rejuvenate. This may require taking a break from watching the news, social media, and speaking to friends about what’s happening in the world today.”- Deborah DeJean with Women’s Empowerment Group in Valley Stream, NY

We don’t realize how much lack of sleep impacts our mood, concentration, and overall functioning. Did you know that on average, the poor live less healthy lives and are more than three times as likely to die prematurely as the rich? Of course this involves other factors like healthy diets and toxic neighborhoods, but no sleep is definitely at the top of the list. A rigorous 2015 study involving both lab tests and self-reports from more than 2,000 U.S. participants found that, compared with white people matched for age and sex, Black people were five times as likely to sleep for shorter periods. Hispanics and Chinese Americans were roughly two times as likely to get fewer hours of sleep than whites. Something has got to change.

Mindfulness is Money

S.T.E.A.M, an acronym that stands for setting boundaries, thankfulness, exercise, affirmations, and mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means to be silent and be still, finding strength in your awareness. Some people do this by meditating, simply laying down and letting your thoughts be positive, prayer, or exercises like Yoga.

Mindfulness fights anxiety, stress and depression. Being truly present in your moment helps you to appreciate and be grateful at that time. For example, the next time you are about to eat a meal, take a moment and not just be thankful for that meal but really understand what that meal is doing for you and where it is coming from. Did you have the money to buy the meal? Then be grateful. Is that meal taking care of a hungry stomach? Is that meal nutritious and helping you to be stronger? Be thankful. That is mindfulness. Did you know that reading a book or completing a puzzle can also be forms of mindfulness? Anything that calms your minds and exercises your brain without any negative effect can be sources of meditation. Keeping a positive perspective on life, and stating positive affirmations out loud are also essential to mindfulness.


A lot of artists, writers, actors and other creative individuals are pretty good at self expression by putting their energy into their work. Learning how to process your emotions is important to self care and your mental health. How many times do we see on the news, people having nervous breakdowns and it not only affecting that person, but others around them?

Sometimes it is just hard to deal with difficult emotions and some people can’t help but hold it in their thoughts instead of facing and dealing with them. Others choose to handle them on their own or with help, like from a counselor. We all handle self expression differently. You may even get a person that loves to voice their thoughts and they need people to know how they feel or they will literally go crazy. Either way, dealing with your feelings can be quite disturbing for your mind and body. When we suppress our anger, it can start to manifest in our bodies and minds, in the form of medical issues like high blood pressure or headaches.

Even if we hold in positive things, like a major crush on someone, it builds up in anxiety as well. I can count on one hand how many times I had sleepless nights because I wanted to tell someone how I felt, but kept it in. With the Coronavirus pandemic and all the other changes going on in the world, I can only imagine how much people are suppressing right now. Don’t be afraid to get professional guidance or journal your thoughts. Find ways to process what you are feeling without hurting yourself or those around you. A daily thing that I do is a check in, every morning and night. I check in with myself in the morning on how I feel and move accordingly, I also write down 10 things I am grateful for. At night, I do the same thing, except I write down what good happened today, thus I go to sleep with a positive mindset and I wake up with the same mindset.


This one is pretty self explanatory, but it’s crucial to your self care and mental health.

Protecting your peace simply means do not surround yourself with negativity; if you can. The world around us is full of hostility so I understand this is hard, but there are so many steps and tactics you can take to accomplish this. Walk away from naysayers, delete those people you follow on Instagram that have nothing nice to say, turn off the news from time to time and watch something funny. Your energy literally radiates around you giving off what you feel and attracting the same. Also, creating boundaries for yourself is very important. Knowing how to say no is hard for some, but once you start it’ll be a piece of cake. Ask yourself, “am I doing this because I feel obligated, guilty or pressured?” Also ask yourself, “does this drain me or give me energy” or “do I need to have this particular conversation right now?” Boundaries are what help us to be balanced, honest, and maintain healthy relationships with people.

Start That Hobby or New Career Path

Lastly, do something fun with your life! Do what you want to do and do what you love! Some of this can link back into getting out of the house or expressing yourself; whatever floats your boat. Even if you are not sure what you really like to do, try something you are interested in or always wanted to do. I didn’t realize I loved Yoga until I tried it, and I also didn’t know how much I liked wine tasting and was good at it until I tried it. Some people decide to travel five times a year as a hobby or volunteer around the word. Giving yourself something to look forward to automatically makes you excited about your life, bringing on major confidence and joy! Also, who knows, you might find that your hobby can turn into a pretty lucrative business. Which brings me to focusing on that business of yours. Have you always wanted to be a painter or work as an art dealer? Start researching what you need to do and get to it! You will be amazed at how your life turns around for you and what the Universe will provide for you as you start your new business journey!

The world is collectively dealing with trauma as well as generational agony. Depending on what you are following on social media, it’s just a constant downer, and don’t even get me started on the news. It makes it hard for us to maintain a positive outlook, but it can be done if you decide to. Yes, we all process and deal with things in different ways, I personally take every Wednesday and make it a bath and movie day for me. That is something that no matter what happens to me through the week or what negative situations I am exposed to, I look forward to that and that alone switches my mind into positivity that quickly. I challenge you today to put your phones down, shut off the news, sit down and write your thoughts down, then begin figuring out your self care routine and come back to this list. Check off each item on the list as you commit to your journey to better your mental health and start this new adventure of self care!

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