Self-Care Tips for Black Canadians Who Are Emotionally Exhausted
Let me start by saying – this struggle is more just a ‘right now’ issue. We’ve been dealing with racial injustices, microaggressions, and living in a system built for white people for our entire lives. But if you’re like me, scrolling through social media and listening to the triggering news cycle, you may be feeling emotionally raw right now. Personally, I’ve worked hard throughout my life to keep my angst, anger and hurt beneath the surface – I’ve sewn my emotions tightly into the crevices of my psyche so that I can look and feel ‘normal’ to the privileged eye. Now, I feel like those stitches are being torn open little by little, exposing an open wound created from years of inequality and run-ins with overt racism that I’ve kept to myself. We’re constantly looking for ways to survive – whether it’s psychologically or physically – but our resilience is unmatched, and it’s a legacy we’ve inherited from our ancestors. It’s okay not to be okay right now, so here’s a few ways that I’m taking care of myself that might help during this painful time.
Logging out of my social media apps
Right now, being on social media is a strange time. It feels like non-Black people have suddenly woken up to injustices that have been happening their whole lives. On top of that, videos of violent protests, buildings burning and even George Floyd’s death are on repeat on my timeline. Every time, I open my apps I’m re-visited by these feelings of anger and pain. As much as I appreciate the shows of solidarity, the lists of resources, and opinionated posts, I need to be honest with myself and say ‘That’s enough.’ Time to take care of myself and log out.
Finding someone to lean on
Our emotional vulnerability is compounded by the fact that we’re in the middle of a freaking global pandemic. We’re government-mandated to be in isolation which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to anyone’s mental health, much less for those of us of us who are dealing with our trauma blown up in our faces. I’ve found it comforting to talk to my family about what’s making me sad or angry – whether it’s Donald Trump’s abhorrent speech or unpacking the pain I felt watching George Floyd take his last breaths. Hopefully there’s at least one person in your life who ‘gets it’ and can provide a shoulder to lean on.
Taking care of myself in the most basic sense
Full disclosure – in the past week, I’ve had two consecutive days without eating or sleeping. My body was running on zero percent battery and I couldn’t figure out what the reason was. I wanted to blame it on my horoscope or PMS, but the problem was that I had overestimated my strength. I thought I could deal with the triggers from the news, social media, and working from home while handling the stress from the pandemic. Once I admitted to myself that I was carrying a heavy load, I had to be purposeful about taking care of myself – meaning planning my meals, drinking water, taking my vitamins and putting myself to bed earlier than usual to make time for meditation.
You may be receiving messages from non-Black people apologizing for any way they may have been upholding racist ideals or white supremacy. You may also be receiving messages asking for guidance or resources as people seek understanding. Due to the complexity and history of racism not only in the US, but in Canada as well, taking this on feels like yet another burden – and it’s not yours to bear. Unless you want to offer up guidance, don’t feel obligated to do so. We live in the information age and information about this is not hard to find.
Protecting my self-esteem
As a Black woman, my confidence and self-esteem has been hard-fought and built with intention. Someone could call me a racial slur to my face and I wouldn’t flinch. Every time a Black person is killed at the hands of police, simply because they’re Black, it sends the message that your life is considered less than human. I can’t stress this enough – you cannot internalize this message under any circumstances. One thing I’ve learned is that we can’t wait on any outside force to recognize or celebrate us – we have to do that for ourselves. We know the truth about our worth. Hold on to that, and never let it go.
Before getting her start in Canadian media, Tracey was an beauty Youtuber, who very early on believed that beauty should be viewed from an inclusive lens. In 2016, she began working at Corus Entertaianment with the Global TV brand before moving to Slice in 2019 as a producer and writer. Whether she’s writing about the latest in beauty and style trends, or giving her tips on-camera, Tracey is committed to teaching with authenticity and diversity at the core of her message.