Mental health is something that will always be important, but it’s especially important right now for the Black community. There is so much going on and it’s all going on at once. Police brutality and protests are the current centres of attention, and it’s a lot!
A couple of years ago, I could watch a protest on TV, and I would be right there chanting as if I was at the protest. These days, though, I can’t watch a protest on TV or on social media without wanting to cry or just fully shedding tears. Things are different. I think we all kind of feel it in a sense. It’s the same thing we’ve been dealing with for centuries and centuries, yet so different at the same time. With that being said, it’s vital to make sure you’re taking care of your mental health and even more now if you were already making it a priority prior to these events.
Today, I am giving you four tips for taking care of your mental health and I hope that they will be of great help during this time.
1. Turn it Off/ Log Out
I know there are a few people who have had to just step away from social media and that’s very understandable and very wise if you are just not able to handle it. Even if you do feel like you can handle constantly seeing everything on the news and social media, you still need to turn it off for a bit.
I know, I know…how will you know what’s going on in the world and stay up to date?
I’m not saying to stay off for like a week or anything (even though you can if needs be!) What I mean is- take as much time away as you need. Maybe after a certain time in the day, you can choose to step away for a bit. It’s okay to want to stay updated and support, but it’s not okay if you get so engulfed into everything that it is all you look at 24/7. It can really mess with your mental health so its worth to take the moment, log out, or change the channel.
2. Focus on Something That You Love
My first tip then leads me to my second tip. Once you’ve logged out, try focusing on something that you love that makes you happy. I know right now it might be hard to do anything involving being happy, but that’s why it’s more important now than ever to do so.
We’ve been in quarantine for like 2387494 days now, so there must be something that you’ve always wanted to start doing or have never had the time to do much of, but it’s something you love. Give that thing your attention for a bit. I’ve been trying to learn sign language and I’m loving it! If you can’t think of anything, then try taking a drive or go for a walk or bike ride. Get out a little bit so you’re not tempted to instantly go back and look at the news.
3. Write it Out
Journaling is a great way to practice getting your thoughts out. Personally, I’m the worst at expressing how I feel vocally. I’m also someone who’s pretty good at keeping things inside because I don’t want to seem annoying. I don’t journal as far as writing thoughts down in a notebook or journal, but in a way, blogging is like my way of journaling. On my blog, I do diary entries where I just express my thoughts and things that are going on. I try my best not to worry about being so formal with my writing and just let out whatever is on my mind.
That’s journaling. Whether your journal is public or private, just write down how you’re feeling in the moment, thoughts or ideas you may be having, and just anything else you feel you need to jot down. I also suggest that if you write out something you’d rather not revisit, then write it down and tear out the page afterwards. What you do with that page is up to you.
4. Talk to Someone
I’m a HUGE advocate for getting help and talking to a specialist. If you’re someone who just rather express vocally how you feel, then I highly suggest talking to someone in the mental health field. I will admit, sometimes it just takes talking to a friend or someone who’s going through the same wave of emotions that you are, that’s totally fine as well. Community is needed more than ever right now and we as a Black community must be there for our own. However, if you feel as if you have no one to talk to, then it’s okay to find a therapist or counselor. I know we’re in quarantine right now, but there are plenty of mental health specialists who are doing online consultations.
Please, please, please don’t assume that you have to have a mental disorder/illness to talk to a therapist. Keeping things inside when you feel like you have no one is a way you can develop a mental disorder. So be sure to talk to someone before it’s too late.
Taking care of our mental health needs to be normalized a lot more, and it especially needs to be taken into action during these times. I hope that these four tips were helpful to you and that you keep them in mind.
Stay safe and take care of yourselves.