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A Self Care Op-Ed

With 300K COVID-19 deaths nationally, and research showing Blacks are experiencing the worst death rates during this pandemic, has many of us questioning our mental health.

Every day we are seeing how the pandemic has taken a toll on our spirits whether we had to personally fight this virus, lost someone from the virus, or missing out on monetary opportunities, it has been a lot. The struggle is REAL, and for even, the most confident strong “Black Woman”, heightened feelings of anxiety, fatigue, grief, and overall the heavyweight of the uncertainty of what the next steps look like for us.

Many black women are heads of households, essential workers, caregivers, social advocates, and leading the pack on the Front line. Zoom has become the daily norm for the kids learning, the boss ladies working from home, and just keeping connected with our inner circle. Even my six-year-old daughter’s play dates and ballet class are all just a login away. Can we say Zoom fatigue! Our mind, body, and soul recognize these changes taking place during quarantine, and some of us are met with sadness and loneliness. But, don’t be hard on yourself this is normal, change is always difficult. This is an important time to be patient and kind to yourself and make self-care a priority!

On a positive note if you’re reading this you’ve made it to see the end of the year, and God-given a reset, and a fresh start is just around the corner as we close the chapter for 2020, and start writing the narrative for 2021. Many of our cities have rolled back to purple tier guidelines, which enforce limited social interaction and gatherings. Sadly the bliss of the holiday season, fun times to eat, drink and be merry with our loved ones have been put on pause. But the closing of the year is always a good time for reflection, so just hold on because a change is coming my loves.

I don't care what has happened or how bad it seems, please take a few minutes to just breathe and focus on yourself. By any means necessary! Everything and everyone around you will be okay. Trust me. Remember if you're not good, mentally, physically, and spiritually, it's hard to be there for others. There’s this notion that black women are supposed to put themselves last while carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders (family, kids, relationships, school, career, communities, etc). That belief is very misleading and often causes more women to suffer in silence with feelings of anxiety, depression, and even suicide. A subject often taboos in our community.

Below are a few ways to start your own self-care journey.

Be Solo Dolo

Pre-pandemic I would be booking the trip, and singing the tunes to one of my favorite homegirls' lyrics, Miss Jill Scott, “Living My life like it’s Golden”. What a bummer that jet setting is starting to feel like a thing of the past, right? Now while vacations are always great, self-care doesn’t always have to be you sitting on the beach sipping mai-tais. It can be as simple as taking a day to yourself doing absolutely nothing.

I know this can be a hard task to do, especially for us ambitious ladies. Confession, ME! Sometimes we over glamorize being booked, and busy, but fail to leave out the other “B”, burn out. But I actually did this over the weekend, and when I tell you a sister is ready to take on 2021. Honestly, this is the ultimate self-care moment. No “TO-DO” list or alarms, just let your body navigate the waking hour. Leave the beat face, and lashes for another day. Rock your natural glow, curls, and find your comfy collection today. That’s right you don’t have to comb your hair, put on make-up or get dressed for the day. Literally, mask off today, and just embrace all your flaws and love on you. This is the best way to unplug and give your mind, body, and soul a reboot.

While you’re at it, support a small business to give back to your community and order some yummy takeout. Close up the kitchen or go to the grocery store the day before so that you have food, snacks, and beverage of choice (wine, please!) on deck. Maybe binge on Netflix. I actually watched the new film, “Jingle Jangle” by David E. Talbert. A wonderful heart-warming movie, and perfect for the season. These amazing actors take us on a journey on how to re-discover our inner magic, after disappointment and loss. We just have to BELIEVE the impossible is POSSIBLE. That message was right on time, and we all could relate to that right now. While doubt may be setting in your psyche, you have to believe in yourself. You got this, and you deserve it all.

Book the Trip

As countries begin to open up in the New Year, continue to take precautions as well as follow new airline protocol. But tripping is still a form of self-care. Keep up with the latest updates, safety first, remain positive, and I do believe one day we’ll be back to collecting those sky miles again.

Last summer I had the chance to finally travel to one of my “must-see” places for some true mind, body, and soul rejuvenation, Bali, Indonesia. Bali is truly magical! My heart was so full, if it wasn’t for my little princess waiting for mom to return, I would have stayed forever. Everything was just beautiful. And the food was fresh and delicious, I really enjoyed the floating breakfast at one of the resorts I stayed at. It made me feel like a Queen. The most memorable experiences were in Ubud, you don’t even have to be a Yogi to fall in love with this place just follow their mantra, “Peace be still”. It may be time for you to book your dream vacation and just relax and let it all go! Nothing wrong with planning ahead. I would suggest getting travel insurance, something I usually don’t get often. Sometimes I’m frugal and it seemed like possibly a waste of money. But now this is important to consider in case you have to cancel or reschedule your trip if anything changes as we navigate our new normal in these times.

Secure the Bag

The quarantine sale ads are overwhelming. While we’re breaking from all the Zooming, or social media scrolls the online sales are tempting. But think wisely during this time of year before making purchases for yourself or others. You don’t have to keep up with “Joneses”, as my mama would say. It’s okay to hit up a sale or two, but don’t go overboard and end up in regret once the world re-opens. You definitely don’t want to come out crashing with debt.

Make a budget, be disciplined, and know that you can always catch a good sale. This is some realistic self-care, save yourself from temporary happiness! Do not let your emotions bring you to the mall, or the Cyber sales, instead plan and put some savings to the side from any end-of-year bonuses you might get from your employer, cash donations, or the new side hustle you took on during this downtime. You will be proud of yourself beginning the new year with that extra cash!

Tunnel Vision

Today I challenge all "Black Women" to affirm positivity in their life by putting the vision in place. Whether you need to journal it down or whip out the old magazines and scissors to get those vision boards on deck. In order to know where you are going, you need to have a PLAN. It’s okay to be a little selfish and do some form of self-care so you can regroup to get laser-focused on your future. Trust your inner voice, self-love, and happiness start with you.

It can be as simple as 15 minutes of alone time soaking up some good Vitamin D (sorry to brag, but I’m in Sunny California), cuddling up with a good book or magazine, locking yourself in the bathroom and getting some Calgon and taking yourself away. The point is self-care can be super fancy or super chill, however, it’s PRICELESS! You only have one you, and one life to live. Live it well. Fix your crown Queens, lean into your sister circle to motivate you to elevate to that next level. Real Queens want to see their whole circle winning.

Use this time to become your best self, let go of the past and any failures, and let God. Strategize the plan for your success, and you will discover your strength. “Tough times never last, but tough people do”. Something black women know all too well, you got this sis. It’s our time to be heard, seen, protected, and validated. We’re coming for everything they said we couldn’t have. YEAR of the BLACK WOMAN, Head and NOT THE TAIL, baby! Cheers to all my beautiful Queens, and I’m declaring a blessed and prosperous NEW YEAR for us all.

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