2020 brought a lot of frustration and sadness for Black people who are dealing with pandemic outcomes, police brutality, forced education for potential allies and a plethora of other things. The headlines last year (and previous years) are flooded with Black people who look like us or people we know. Seeing ourselves in these cases often triggers personal grief and the many emotions that warrants.
Experts advise signing off and separating yourself from news outlets and social media. But have you noticed doing this doesn’t always turn your brain off from the trauma, and it certainly doesn’t heal the hurt or minimize the frustration. For me personally, it’s resulted in poor sleep and nutrition. For friends, it has affected their productivity and well-being.
Since we are in the business of helping, we put together a list for you to follow when the news or your emotions are too heavy to sort. It’s important to stay healthy and be conscious of when you need to give yourself more TLC.
Did you skip a meal?
When we are preoccupied with work, stress or in this case the news – our appetite is the first to suffer. Making sure you’re nourished is essential to your overall well-being. If you really can’t remember to eat, consider setting an alarm as a reminder.
Make sure you’re getting eight glasses of water in a day.
Putting walls up isn’t always a bad thing.
There was a particularly interesting thing that occurred this year: a large portion of white people started reading about how to be an ally and how they practice microaggressions. Regardless of how close you are to someone, some conversations can skyrocket anger, anxiety and sadness. It’s important to take inventory of all the relationships you have and note how you feel when speaking to certain people. It may be beneficial to separate yourself from conversations or people during this time.
Get those Z’s.
If you’re struggling to sleep at night, consider napping during the day. Some options for unwinding: take a warm bath, turn off all lights, do meditation, stretch, or turn on a guided sleep routine.
Talk it out.
Whether it’s with a family member, friend, or professional – don’t hold your feelings in. It will help you process them and community will make you feel less alone.
Gratitude is contagious.
Not to negate all the negatives that have occurred last year, but I often find when I practice a posture of gratitude, I have happier days and new-found perspective. Writing down a couple or even one thing that you’re grateful everyday is a brilliant habit to take with you this year. You will be shocked at how little time it takes and how much better your mood will be, even if your list simply includes “I am grateful for a toothbrush that cleans my teeth.”