By Maliyah Womack
Photo Creds: Joséko for ArtistsForClimate.org
More often than not, the Black Community has experienced a bulk of mental, physical, and emotional disparities due to years of systematic racism, oppression, and environmental inequities. Despite the adversities we have faced as a community, there are ways we can counteract these affects and win back the peace, love, and happiness we all deserve. While there are several methods to protecting our peace, resolving our trauma, and combating our mental health issues, there are quite a few that have been proven to be most helpful. Many of our people hear the word “therapist” and run for the hills, but seeing a therapist does not automatically equal mental illness. Sometimes you just need to vent, girl! Maybe you’re feeling a little lost in life, needing some direction, and a therapist can help with all of that!
"While our parents did the best they could to raise us, that does not mean we didn’t experience some generational trauma. Healing is healthy and therapy can help with that."
I’ll be the first to say, sometimes my pockets are not built for the fees that come with seeing a therapist but that doesn’t mean give up! Some alternative methods we can take initiative on are journaling, meditating, yoga, and even simply taking a walk after a long day. Even taking a moment to go on a short walk and switching up your environment can help to boost your mood and provide some motivation to stay out of bed and accomplish some of your goals. Did you open your blinds today?
Our environment can drastically affect our mental state and so can the people we surround ourselves with. Making improvements on your social environment can have a positive impact on your overall mental health and motivate you to create the change you need to thrive mentally and emotionally. When hearing “social environment” if you’re like me, you immediately think about your friends and while that is true, your social environment is also your family, your community, your job, where you live and even where you go to school.
One of the most important pieces in caring for your crown is surrounding yourself with people in spaces you feel free to be your most authentic self. Your social environment is much more than your family and friends but, I’ll be the first to keep it real with you girl. Cut them off if it's a toxic relationship. One sided friendships can eat away at your self image and make you question both trust, loyalty, and self worth.
Improving your social environment can start with finding a new hobby like joining Black Girls Tennis Club in VA, clay making, running, or event knitting (don't play with the grandma era y'all). In addition to picking up a new hobby, you can try joining groups on Facebook or Linkedln that relate to your interests like a book club or movie reviewing group. Trust me I know socializing with various groups can cause a bit of anxiety but there are so many potential connections you can make to allow you to be yourself and in the process...find yourself.
Though there are a lot of varying factors that influence our mental state, beginning with you and finding a safe space to be yourself are great starts to improve your mental state and care for your crowns. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!