We are constantly being flooded with information. Images of violence, images and videos of slaughter, and people vilifying our very existence have become commonplace in our society. Being black in America is sometimes one of the toughest jobs in the world. In the same token, being back is effortless. We are regal, resilient, brave, and so many other inherited attributes. In order to learn how to cope, we have to recognize our full humanity. We can be regal and grief stricken at the same time. We can be effortlessly proud of who we are and also be afraid for our future. Life provides us with this dichotomy and that is what allows us space to learn and to heal. If we’re being honest, being black is beautiful and taxing at the same time. Here are a few ways to cope when you can’t seem to grapple with all of the emotions that come along with the black experience:
Lean into your community. Do you have social support? Are you in spaces where you have to perform or have a mask on? Do you have safe spaces where you can tell the truth? Find your community and your safe space that facilitates conversations and action. This will serve as a reminder that you are not alone.
Recognize that your resistance is a radical act. Your choice to rest, your choice to be joyful, your choice to be loving is radical. Anger does not have to be your only fuel.
Meditation and mindfulness. “There is something sacred about being still and silent.” - Dr. Thema. The need to constantly be busy and working is often a trauma response. Find ways to allow yourself to be present in the current moment without judgement. (App recommendations to assist: Abide, Calm, Liberate, and Headspace)
Get moving. We often carry stress in the body. Yoga, dance, stretching, and walking are a few outlets that are helpful to release some of what you are carrying. If you begin to recognize more pain and discomfort in areas of your body, take that as a sign that it may be time to get moving. Grant yourself permission to have that dance party in your living room.
Remember, your wellness is critical in this movement.
Alexis Long-Daniels, M.A., ALC, NCC