Let’s face it, 2016 was a rough year. From the international terrorist attacks around the world to domestic injustices that have shown America’s deep seed hatred bubble to the surface. Its no surprise that black women’s emotional tank is empty. From the various movements and programs we lead to the constant onslaught of racists and sexist jungles we must navigate and weave thru, black women take the blunt of a lot of pain. Though we are strong and magical, we do hurt, grow tired and wither from stress. It’s important to remember that we, like every living being around us, deserves love and tenderness. While we all gather ourselves from the recent tragedies and the draining election circus I want to give hope and encouragement on how to make 2017 the best year you’ve had yet.
Here 5 ways you can cope with 2017
1. Find a Support Group
Now I know a few of you have heard the term “Safe Space” and can’t help but roll your eyes but I can’t stress how important a sanctuary truly is. The world is loud, noisy and a taxing place at times. Everyone is constantly shouting their opinions, their beliefs and sometimes even their hate. It is crucial for your mental health to surround yourself with people who love, support and care about you.
Find a women only forum and exchange ideas, thoughts and musings. Search or start a club that caters to your interest so you can connect with like minded individuals. Be mindful of spending time with your family and friends, people who you feel comfortable around to vent, laugh and relax. I know it’s hard when you have such a full schedule but pencilling in some time to strengthen bonds and create new links is important. Having someone understanding of your plight is completely refreshing and with encouragement from people who are truly on your level will help give you the drive to achieve things you’ve only dreamed of.
2. Purge your Social Media Accounts
I use to brag about all the e-battles I got into in the past. I found it to be a great way to blow of steam and put an ignorant person in their place. What I didn’t understand, until much later, was how I was letting these people into my emotional realm. Emotional tax is a real thing and as I grew older I realized how precious every fiber of my being truly is. I highly doubt I changed anyone’s mind with our back and forth and once the initial high of “winning” wore off I found myself carrying negative emotions with me for the rest of the day.
Now my method is simple. I block, and I do it with a swiftness. My time is too valuable to be spent on stupidity and disagreements. My social media is the world I crafted just for myself and at the end of the day it’s me who allows these people to interact in my space. I don’t care if it’s family or old friends. If you see more drama and stress on your timeline, page or dash, do yourself a favor and block or unfollow. They may be confused or offended but 2017 isn’t a time to play games or carter to people who make you feel horrible.
I took my own advice on this one recently and I made sure to replace lost accounts with something more positive and light. Pages totally dedicated to my favorite anime shows, funny pictures of pets and animals and educational blogs to help with my writing and other hobbies.
Don’t believe the lie that if you’re not “on” all the time then you don’t care about important issues in the world. We are multi faceted beings. We can care about saving the rain forest AND about playing Pokemon Go.
3. Spend more Time Outside
We, as humans, tend to lose focus on the bigger things in life. The universe is so wide and wondrous that sometimes it’s just easier to narrow our vision on our every day life. I mean, who has time to ponder about Jupiter when the water bill is due on Monday, or when your work and school schedule isn’t meshing and you have an empty fridge at home?
With how insignificant our lives really are in the grand scheme of things, its interesting how our daily problems can still stress us out to the point where it’s hard to find reasons to get out of bed in the morning. For that, I find that realizing just how tiny I am, is one of the most reassuring methods of grounding myself.
I take barefoot walks in the grass or appreciate how soft all the trees look at midnight. I imagine the everyday travels of birds that sing in my front yard or look at pictures of cluster of stars, billions of light-years away. I matter in the universe, without me, things would be different. However, when I die, the grass will keep growing, bees will keep collecting pollen and flowers will still bloom, and for some reason, that brings me joy.
Understand that before there were cellphones and radio waves and an oppressive capitalist regime that there were quiet streams, animal families and new sparks of life, thriving on what was around them. We came from the Earth and despite all the corruption from human interference she has been pretty good with keeping us readily supplied with the things we need to thrive.
Don’t like camping or not the outdoorsy person? No problem. Get a small plant or something to glam up your personal space. Let it be a reminder that you aren’t so far removed from its existence and that with a little love and water, you too, can thrive and grow.
Some people aren’t artsy, I get it, but we all have the ability to create art. Some choose poetry, painting, wielding or even interpretive dance. Whatever you decide, be sure that it reflects you in all the best ways. You have a story and despite all my talk about you “being a gnat in a giant ocean and nothing will care if you die” bit up above, it deserves to be told, heard and read.
Challenge yourself and invest in a class that helps you hone your skill or learn a new way to express yourself. I’m going to learn the cello this year and finally learn how to knit. Woot! 2017 is the time I leave my mark on everything around me.
5. Treat Yo Self!
Now I know this was the motto for 2014 and beyond, but I don’t care. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This one is pretty self explanatory but I’ll still cover a few things I want you guys to try.
*Make funny videos and share them with friends and family
*Take semi nude pictures (you don’t have to show anyone) and just appreciate all your curves, lumps, bumps and dips. No one else looks like you, embrace your unique body.
*Take selfies everyday and post them. A bit vain? Perfect. Bless the world with that face of yours.
*Drink a glass of wine in the middle of the day.
*Get a whole bunch of yummy bath bombs and lounge in the tub with your favorite book.
*Enjoy junk food for your brain. Sappy paperbacks that feature a hot, shirtless man that is protectively holding a love struck woman are always good to own. Indulge in reality tv show marathon and get that extra piece of pie.
A little junk food (mentally and physically) is good for the soul.
2017 is a new beginning. We all survived 2016 with grit and hunger for something better. In the mist of us taking life by the horns, while we sharpen our blade to do battle once more, be mindful of who you are, of what you are. You’re a person that deserve love, time and healing. Let 2017 be about taking care of yourself first, then the others around you.
What do you do to practice self care? Leave a comment below!