Right now is perhaps one of the most stressful, traumatic and saddening times our generations have yet to experience. Amidst protests, politics and media, there is a non-stop stream of negative images, police brutality, burning buildings, systemic racism and a luring sense of change. For most, these images and incidences are stressful, saddening, and damaging to mental health.
Whether you are out there protesting for equality or quietly researching how you can make a difference from your own home, take five minutes out of every day to reset, gather your thoughts and stay strong.
Here are 7 self-care tips for dealing with intense emotions.
1. Ask yourself, “Are my basic needs being met?
Between social media, protests and news coverage, it may be hard to recall the last time that you ate, let alone slept. First thing’s first — you must take care of yourself. Set reminders for eating, using the bathroom, taking a shower, and getting a full night’s sleep. You can use anything from alarms on your phone to your e-mail calendar alerts to set a schedule or routine that ensures your basic needs are met.
2. Recognize & acknowledge your emotions
Emotions are running high. Whether you are angry or sad, it is important to feel your feelings and acknowledge them. Suppressing negative feelings does not help you process them, instead find healthy outlets to communicate and express yourself.
Therapists suggest moving your body to process anger. Try going for a run, practicing yoga or dancing. While moving, consciously ask yourself why you are angry, how you can make a difference. Sometimes internal conversations can truly lift a weight off your chest and align your emotions and mental health.
3. Connect with your community
Right now is not a time to be distant. Be sure to connect with your community. Check in on your family, friends and neighbors to see how they are coping. If you are currently in quarantine, take this time to research, read and use social media as a method to connect and check in.
4. Set limits on your media intake
It is easy to become absorbed by the media and headlines. While educating yourself, researching, reading and communicating on social media, limit your news intake to 30-minute increments. If you become overwhelmed by constant commentary, consider deleting your social media apps, limiting your daily news intake and changing your social media settings. While it is important to stay informed, you do not need to be entirely absorbed by media and messaging.
5. Become comfortable with managing your personal conversations
Now is the time to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations, but on your own terms. As you process your own emotions and stance, it is okay to not invite unwelcome or unsupportive people to your roundup. If you believe that someone is not willing to engage in discussions in good faith, perhaps allow them to process their anger and thoughts on their own. Wisely become comfortable with airing your personal beliefs and making time to form your own opinions and stance. Become at ease with respectfully responding “I’m not the best audience for this,” while managing and processing your own emotions and thoughts.
6. Find & repeat a mantra that you can repeat in moments of stress
Once you have established and started to process your emotions, adopt a mantra that is calming and representative of your thoughts and perspective. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious, return to your mantra. This allows you to realign your thoughts, process emotions and continue actively moving forward.
7. Continue to show your support with actions, not just words
While posting to social media will help you take a stance and share your thoughts, you must, must continue to support the Black community by becoming knowledgeable. Consume Black art, Black history, Black success. Continuously celebrate Black joy, whether you talk about it or not. Your actions alone, even in the privacy of your own home, are part of the movement.