We are on the cusp of a civil rights revolution. This isn’t another social media hashtag trend that will fade out when the newest thing hits. For most of us, this is an extremely emotional time of shock, enlightenment, rage, passion, love, and trauma. Many white people are experiencing a second-hand wave of shame, horror, and deliberate action. But non-POC will never truly be able to know the trauma that Black people and many POC have been living through for centuries.
Right now is an atrocious, beautiful, and long overdue time, but we are far from finished with this kind of work. This is just the catalyst for the years to come—years of actively reinforcing what some of us are just now learning today. The hope is that future generations of Black people and POC can read about the hardships in history class, in disbelief that a world so backwards could hide in plain sight for so long.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Galvan knows that until then, the Black community also needs mental health support to cope and to heal. This grueling work is, in and of itself, no easy task. But there are some simple, inexpensive places to start. Dr. Galvan outlined some self-care tips to heed while fighting for justice, and we’ve listed additional resources at the end:
“Take care of your own needs
It is so important to maintain focus on your basic self-care needs while being flooded with social media chats, television news, and your own feelings. Make sure you’re prioritizing yourself by setting reminders to do simple things such as drinking water, eating meals, and getting enough sleep at night. You need your physical and mental health to increase stamina and energy during this time.
A great way to process feelings is to let them pour out through physical and/or creative activity. Things like working out, dancing, painting, drawing, cooking, and baking can help release some tension from the body and help sort out your thoughts. It also helps keep the mind and body focused on the present moment.
Connect with the Black community
It’s important to use this time to connect with people who can remind you that you are not alone in what you’re feeling. Connecting in person or through more social-distance-friendly ways including social media pages, podcasts, and books will allow you to connect with others who can empathize with your grief and provide support.
Monitor your media exposure
Although it is imperative to stay informed and aware of what is happening right now, be mindful of how checking the news or social media can become a habit and maybe even addictive sometimes. Try giving yourself designated time slots throughout the day to check the news and be informed, such as 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. This way you can continue to be updated while also preventing yourself from becoming overly anxious and overwhelmed.
Repeat positive affirmations
If affirmations are something that appeal to you, begin by choosing one that feels suitable to your feelings and repeat it often to yourself as a way of staying grounded. The feelings of sadness and anger can become overpowering, and repeating positive affirmations help bring you back to center. Some examples include: ‘Even though I feel enraged and saddened by these horrific acts of racism, I know my feelings are valid and my voice can still be heard’ or ‘I am confident and hopeful that change will come as long as we keep the momentum moving forward.'”
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