2020 has been relentless.
COVID-19 and self-quarantine have completely transformed our daily lives. Now, our country is in a state of outrage and despair. We hear the cries for justice from the Black Lives Matter movement. We bear witness to the awful injustices committed against our black communities.
It’s unbelievably disheartening.
The tragedy of George Floyd — along with Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor — aches my heart and weighs heavy on my soul. And while we mourn their families and communities, I encourage you to do what you can within your circle of influence to inspire positive change.
Change Starts with Awareness
Next, educate yourself. If you don’t know how or where to start, click here for a list of anti-racism resources, which include books, podcasts, and articles.
You can also have a frank conversation with your partner and children. As you learn more about the injustices committed against black people, share that insight with your family.
Then expand outward. Talk about it with your friends. Spread the message across your social networks.
Use your voice and your privilege to expose anti-black racism and amplify black voices.
Don’t Forget to Be an Advocate for Yourself
Being an advocate for others is an incredible thing.
As a white woman, I possess certain privileges that members of the black community don’t. I am in a position to use this privilege as a tool for good — to combat racism and raise the volume on issues I believe in.
But when you take a stand, you might feel compelled to stand on your platform forever. That you must do what you can 24/7, 100% of the time. Because if you don’t, it feels like you’re giving up.
But I learned that you can still support the causes you believe in and take time to be an advocate for yourself. You can step away and recharge.
Being an advocate for others and being an advocate for yourself aren’t mutually exclusive.
As you fight for the causes you believe in, your energy drains. And eventually, you need to step away and take time for yourself.
Step Away So You Can Come Back Stronger
#1 Let Go of the Guilt
Think about this.
How effective are you as an advocate when you’re exhausted?
How can you be compassionate towards others if you can’t direct it to yourself?
How can you think clearly when your mind is riddled with anxiety and stress?
When you feel guilty about stepping away, remember that you’re not a stone monolith. You’re not unwavering to the forces around you.
Your energy is finite and your well-being is vulnerable.
There are times when you need to step down and step away. And that’s okay.
Taking care of yourself is okay.
Advocating for yourself is okay.
So, let go of the guilt. And take the time you need to feel 100%, so you can do what you do best and support the causes you believe in.
#2 Go On a Digital Detox
There is only so much negativity you can consume before your body and mind begin to suffer. Very Well Mind discusses a study that found “using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.”
That’s why I ask you to give yourself permission to tune it out.
Unplug from social media. Turn off the television.
You don’t need it every day.
Instead, find other outlets to spend your free time. Rediscover the joy of slower activities, like reading a favorite book or trying a new recipe in the kitchen.
Take some time for yourself. The rest of the world will be there when you are ready for it once again.
#3 Journal Your Emotions
Lately, I’ve been experiencing emotional turmoil. You might, as well.
You might have already been feeling loneliness in self-isolation. And now you feel horror over the pattern of racial injustice against black people that’s seen in the United States and around the world. Recent lootings and riots might even make you feel unsafe in your own home.
Right now, your emotions probably feel like a tangle of raw energy.
Journaling helps to sort those emotions. It finds the one string and unravels the mess, so you can better understand your thoughts and ease the burden in your heart.
If you need help getting started, here are a few journaling prompts to inspire you:
- What am I feeling at this very moment?
- How did the tragedy of George Floyd’s death affect me?
- What are 5 actions I can take today that will help me feel more calm?
- What are 5 short-term goals I want to achieve?
- What is one long-term goal I want to prioritize?
#4 Prioritize Your Sleep
During these uncertain times, you may have developed increased anxiety and stress and might even be experiencing signs of burnout.
All of these can compromise your sleep quality.
Do you have trouble going to sleep?
Are your thoughts racing when you pray for tranquility?
Are you waking up in the middle of the night?
Your sleep affects every moment of your waking life. Your energy levels. Your mood. How productive and effective you are.
It’s time to make sleep a priority. If you follow the above tips, you should see an improvement in your sleep quality.
Walking Toward a Better and More Compassionate Future
With the relentless media and chaos in our country, it’s no wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed with life.
Like me, you might feel compelled to speak out against injustice, like racism, in the world. That’s amazing, and I encourage you to do so.
At the same time, I urge you to practice self-advocacy.
Advocate for yourself to become stronger and more resilient.
Advocate for yourself to become a better and healthier you.
Because the world can only heal and improve when we have stronger and more compassionate women in it.