Truth is we’re tired. 2016 has been a beating for black women, and still we stand. As we emerge on the other end of this election, so many of us feel defeated, unappreciated and so many more negative emotions. Now more than ever, we must take care of ourselves because the sad truth is most of the time no one else will. So where do we begin with this whole self-care thing? How do we take it from a good idea to a regular practice in our life? I have a couple of suggestions below, but please know that self-care looks different for every woman. I personally hate working out, so it doesn’t do much emotionally for me to run a mile (it probably would do more for me physically, but alas.) My hope is that you are inspired by some of these tips and begin to work in some easy self-care activities in your everyday life.
I know, I know. You think that sitting in a room going Ohm could be very boring. First, I’ll warn you that meditation takes practice. When you first start out, it feels like wrangling a cow to get your brain to be still and rest in the quiet. I promise you it gets better. Soon you’ll come to enjoy the solace of just being in the moment. Think of it as a braincation. If you want to throw traditional meditation techniques to the wall, you can also try one of these ideas from this post by Colored Girl Confidential, brilliantly titled Meditation for Stressed Out Women Who Suck at Meditation.
And if you just want to listen to hilarious guided meditation, check out “F*ck that: A Guided Meditation.” I actually keep that in my bookmarks.
2. Watch a Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl
Before Insecure was a glorious, immaculate thing on HBO, Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl was a relatable series on Youtube created by the genius of Issa Rae. When I encountered this show in college, I was immediately hooked and watched the whole season (the Netflix binge before Netflix binging was a thing.) Issa Rae perfectly covered the triumphs and the fails of so many girls that looked and acted like me in her characters. And I became a stan. There is so much healing is seeing your story being told and knowing that everything will somehow, someway be okay. If you still aren’t sold, check out the first epi, “The Stop Sign” below. Then clear out your calendar because you have things to do. And the when you finish that, most definitely watch Insecure if you haven’t already.
3. Read (or listen to) The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
It sounds selfish, but I was somewhat relieved that someone as successful as Shonda Rhimes doesn’t mentally have it all together like I thought she would. I was able to relate to her, and then aspire to the challenge that she set before us. Say yes, but say yes to the things that frighten you, and the things that grow you, and don’t be afraid to say yes to saying no to things that are destructive to you. Yes is scary, but yes is good.
4. Call a Friend
Take a page from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and call up a friend you can talk to. I’ll caveat this by saying don’t call a friend who will always turn the conversation back to them. Tell your friend heads up — you have some feels and some things to say and you need them to be there for you. Every girl needs a few friends to talk to. It’s not just helpful, it’s essential.
5. Cook or Eat something you love
Few things make me happier than wedding cake. It’s literally the top perks of going to weddings. I mean, I’m happy for the couple but a white cake with raspberry filling and almond buttercream? Hallelu! So when this cupcake shop used to be open near me, that was my once in a while treat that would put a smile on my face. My other happy food is tacos. Because tacos.
6. Have a dance party
From Trina to Yonce, sometimes you just need to walk in your truth and dance like no one is watching. Not only is it cardio, but who doesn’t love to dance without being judged?
7. Pamper yourself
When you look good, you feel good. So whether you give yourself a mani/pedi or get one done, you can take time to relax and end up feeling and looking loads better for it. Same goes for other relaxing pamper techniques like baths or facials. There’s nothing like enjoying a glass of wine whilst watching Hulu in a bath with all the relaxing scents.
If you’re like me, there is healing in just writing down how you feel. It’s also a great exercise of self-awareness — just to know where are you at the moment and to be able to go back to it at a later date to gauge where you’ve been and where you’re going. Ever since my dad passed, it’s been ever so important to have an outlet for my emotions. Friends and family are great, but I don’t always want to impose my emotions on others. So I write and I feel a little healing with every word.
9. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling at the moment.
If that means you cry or punch a pillow or laugh or scream, just understand that your feelings are valid. And that you are loved, no matter what. And we’ll be okay, black girl.
But that’s enough about me. What are some of your favorite ways to self-care as a black girl? Share them in the comments below!