6 Black Therapists on Practicing Self-Care While Fighting Racism
That’s why DeJean tells MakeupJet that she recommends taking breaks throughout the day to focus on yourself. “During this time it is extremely important for people, especially Black people, to recharge and take a minute to rejuvenize. This may require taking a break from watching the news, social media, and speaking to friends about what’s happening in the world today,” she suggests. However, this doesn’t mean completely checking out or allowing yourself to be uninformed. “I would suggest twice a day checking in on what’s happening, then taking a break. This will help reduce some stress and anxiety,” she says.
“Black people need to recharge by having vulnerable conversations with one another that allow them to cry, yell, scream, and love on one another.”
Ayanna Abrams, a licensed clinical psychologist and therapist who specializes in EFT (emotion-focused therapy) at Ascension Behavioral Health in Atlanta, Georgia, emphasizes the importance of rest — in particular, having a good sleep schedule. “Sleep is a biological need and practice that we do not give enough attention to and has a huge restorative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall functioning when we get enough of it. Setting a sleep schedule and remaining consistent with what times you go to sleep and wake up is valuable to every aspect of our day to day lives,” she explains.
Outwardly voicing your frustrations and hurt can help process feelings and release the physical embodiment of repressed stress. Nazon thinks it’s a good time to be vocal. “During this time, Black people need to recharge by having vulnerable conversations with one another that allow them to cry, yell, scream, and love on one another,” she says. She’s also an advocate for the transformative power of touch, which is a bit hard to do right now, though some of us are staying with people we can hug. “Let’s hug one another and transfer strength and energy to each other. This may sound unconventional, but there is so much power in a hug from your Black brother and sister,” she tells MakeupJet.
Engage in a mindfulness practice
Toussaint tells her clients to utilize S.T.E.A.M, an acronym that stands for setting boundaries, thankfulness, exercise, affirmations, and mindfulness. She recognizes that mindfulness can be difficult to navigate during these times, and offers her advice for utilizing it: “Find power in stillness and silence. Find power in your awareness. Mindfulness is often misunderstood. It’s a practice I highly recommend to the clients I work with because it increases your ability to stay in the moment, in the present,” she says.
A regular mindfulness practice can also be a good way to combat anxiety over situations we can’t control, whether they’ve already happened or not. Toussaint adds, “Too often, our minds are either trapped in the past or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. For example, to be mindful when you are eating means to be truly present while you are enjoying your meal.”
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