The work I am seeing by my community in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement is tremendous. Baby steps forward are being made, which is a huge glimmer of hope during these times.
Despite this glimmer of hope, we must keep our foot on the gas and keep the momentum going.
However, no matter how hard you try, you cannot pour from an empty glass.
So I've created a list of tips/reminders on how to take care of yourself as well as others while taking on this massive lifelong endeavor.
(Please note I am not a health care professional and these are tips I have personally found helpful while doing this work. I have linked resources for more information/professional assistance at the end of this blog post).
How to Keep Your Glass Full:
1. Do not shame how others participate or feel ashamed by how you are participating.
I’m sure by now you have seen the post going around about how there are many different lanes. Some people might be going out to protests, others are listening and raising other's voices, some are reading, some are donating, and others are doing all of the above.
There is not one way to do this work. One of the things I’ve seen this past week (which thankfully is starting to decrease) is shaming of people who aren’t going to protests or don’t have the money to donate.
Everyone is their own piece of the puzzle and the only way to do it "wrong" is by being completely silent or not doing anything. And if you know you are doing the work -don't feel guilty if it doesn't look the same as other people's work.
2. Stick to your routines & schedules.
I know the desire to want to drink a 12 pack of White Claw in 7 days and binge watch The Vampire Diaries every night is extremely real.
Why? Because that’s what I did this past week.
But you have to stick to your schedule. Drink your water and move your body. The more sluggish you feel, the less able you are to show up.
In addition I have added in scheduled time into my daily routine to do this work. Whether it be reading a book, listening to a podcast, or attending a training by a BIPOC content creator, I have made this a part of my routine and highly recommend you doing the same.
3. Social media breaks.
I know y’all are going to have opinions on this because I’ve had many conversations with friends on this exact topic: deleting social media. This ties back into the participation-shaming.
BIPOC cannot delete the color of their skin /why should you be able to delete social media and ignore the problem?
Just because someone decides to delete social media from their phone, does not mean they aren’t checking it. Also- Social media is not the only place for news and information so don’t assume because someone is logging off they are checking out.
While I have since re-downloaded socials, it was also recommended by my dear friend Kort that I still try and limit my screen time.
I currently have set limits on my phone from 10 PM-9 AM. I know I personally haven’t been sleeping well and by giving myself a cut-off time it has helped my brain shut down before I try go to sleep. I also highly encourage not checking it right when you wake up as it sets the tone for your entire day.
4. Check in with all of your community-more than normal.
Something I have learned from @kdotsdotcom takeover on @thebackstageblonde’s Instagram was to ask your community “What are you thinking about in this moment” instead of how are you?
I personally found this really useful because I know the typical response to how are you is I’m fine and you go about your day. By asking, what are you thinking about it, it alleviates some of the pressure and opens up the door to more honest answers.
My check-ins were pretty frequent amidst the quarantine but have increased even more so in the past week.
5. Allow yourself to feel all the things.
Some days you will be sad. Others angry. Some hopeful. You may even find small moments of joy after a cup of coffee or snuggles with your pup. It is okay to feel all the things. It’s okay to find moments you are grateful for. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have hope.
I promise you, it’s okay.
6. Steps forward count.
Something I struggle with personally is wanting to be all things to all people and help everyone all the time. This is overwhelming. This is what keeps me up at night.
Hi hello I am just one person.
And so are you.
You can’t fix the entire world. The first step is working on yourself and within your smaller community. Talk to your friends, reach out to the dean of your college theatre program or your employer. Hold yourself accountable and hold your community accountable. Everyone doing their part is what will make a difference.
7. Know you are in this for the long haul and you are going to make mistakes.
Like our girl Hannah Montana said:
Nobody’s perfect. I got to work it. Again and again until I get it right.
This is not a trend. It is a lifetime process. We have to accept that we will not be perfect in this work. And when we don’t get it perfect, we have to own up to it, listen and do better next time.
I hope you found these tips helpful and apply them as you continue to do the work!
If you are looking for further mental health resources please check out the following resources.
15 Mental Health Resources for POC:
Much love always,