Whew chileeeee! It's no secret that a ton of F*ck Sh*t is going on in this country and Black/Brown/Marginalized/Impoverished groups of people are on the receiving end, yet again. Between trying to stay aware of current events domestically/internationally AND find my place invoking change, trying to eat 3 meals a day AND afford it, juggle school AND career or simply wake up with a peaceful mind: I continuously stretch myself thin. Stress and anxiety find their way to my doorstep often, but in this season of life, I am looking to maneuver through them differently and more positively.
Most conversations that I have had with my peers surrounding 'Coping Mechanisms' involve marijuana addiction, sex, alcohol or the opioid crisis in America. You might be surprised at how many people you know have struggled with the aforementioned Coping Mechanisms. But, before I open that can of worms let's break down what exactly a Coping Mechanism is:
"Coping mechanisms are ways in which external or internal stress is managed, adapted to or acted upon (Sarah Mae Sincero)."
Simply put and for the sake of this read, coping mechanisms are the ways in which we Black/Brown folks deal with the complexities life in Amerikkka keeps dishing us. This blog entry was created with the intention to share some tiny pieces of light that have helped me through some extremely dark times. It is my hope that these will help someone reading!
I don't care how cliche it may sound. The gain I get from keeping a physical log of my feelings, daily life happenings, growth, etc., is truly irreplaceable. Especially when it comes to feelings that I can't put words to. If I arrive at my journal with the intention to not self-judge and to pour openly from my heart, as soon as my pen hits my paper words flow like the Nile. I find that the best times to write are as soon as I awake in the morning. BEFORE I touch my phone. Early morning thoughts are so pure, and often I remember my dreams (which I like to write down as well). Right before bed has also been helpful if I'm feeling like I need to decompress after a long day! When I'm going through tough weeks I neglect my journal, and it is always such a big help when I turn to her to help me through worries.
2. STOP GOSSIPING
"If you don't got nothing nice to say, don't say nothing at all!". These days I think of gossip as excess mind baggage, because to keep it a buck that's all it is. I 100% view gossip as an unhealthy coping mechanism because in most cases engaging in gossip is an indication of some self-perceived fault in one's own situation. When I notice myself opening my mouth to gossip or a convo with a friend has slipped in that direction I make a conscious effort to redirect the chat. This saves me energy + mental capacity to deal with things more important to me.
3. DAILY DANCING
From the constant bombardment of slave narratives (especially those surrounding r*pe against black women), the hyper-sexualization; Mammy caricaturing; the angry black woman stigma; to desensitization by spreading black death/trauma in the media, I a black woman have struggled with existing in and loving my body. One way I practice loving my vessel + getting my blood pumping is through dancing. Put on your favorite tunes and move your body like no one is watching, because YOU deserve it. Don't judge yourself, and don't look in the mirror just let your body FLOW. :)... Oh and check out one of my favorite dancing playlists!
4. CONSCIOUS BREATHING/BREATHWORK
Breathing exercises improve mental, physical, and spiritual health. Did you know expanding your breath increases the amount of oxygen your brain+body receives? This eases a load off of your physical and etheric body. Simple, but real. I recently learned some of my new + favorite breathing techniques on my Kemetic Yoga Training journey. I have yet to mention on my blog that I am currently training to be a Kemetic yoga instructor. Our yogic philosophy places intentional breathing at the front of our practice. Belly breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and cleansing breath are some of my go-to's for centering myself.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA BREAKS
My absolute favorite of the list, but undoubtedly the most challenging. Unplugging from social media as not only a Gen Z person but an entrepreneur who's livelihood partially is garnered online can feel like one of life 's biggest paradoxes. Nonetheless, it is an essential part of mental health. It is very hard to censor what you consume online and I find that unplugging all together is so relieving for me. I have yet to take an extended break, but even just putting a daily limit, or setting aside certain days has helped me.
Let me know what you guys are doing to stay sane in this big ole crazy world!