Black women can carry many burdens. On one hand, these manifest on a mundane level. Many of you are married with kids. You may feel as if you have to be the perfect wife and mother. Others of you may be single, dealing with the pressure of finding a mate while also creating a stable life for yourself. Some of you may be taking care of an ailing parent. Maybe you are trying to balance a full-time job and getting an education. You could be frustrated with your current job, wondering if you are ever going to climb up the corporate ladder. On the other hand, maybe you’re trying to start a new business, with or without a degree.
Despite the day to day concerns, black women also carry the burden that’s cast down to us due to privilege, racial discrimination and oppression. These matters are political and socio-economical that affect black women all around the world but especially in the United States. People like to believe black women are so independent to the point we don’t need help. Others believe black women are not worth investing in, so we are left having to prove our worth time and time again. Many believe that black women don’t need to be taken care of. In turn, we carry on with our lives believing we can and should carry the world on our shoulders.
Well, ladies I want to remind you that it is okay to take a break. Take a break from being perfect and pushing yourself to overachieve. Take a break from putting pressure on yourself to change a bleak situation overnight. Take a break from beating yourself up so hard while trying to survive. It’s time to take a break from feeling like you have to do everything right all the time. If you are feeling drained right now, it is time for you to realize you need to put your needs first.
Self-care may seem selfish to those who don’t understand the concept, but it is a healthy thing for everybody, especially for black women.
Self-Care for Black Women Matters!
Like many other women of color, black women carry so many burdens that affect us mind, body and soul. Some of these burdens are because of centuries worth of oppression that was cast upon our race. We internalize them unconsciously. This is why self-care is so important for black women. We cannot constantly show up for others and neglect ourselves. If we prioritize our needs first, we can better show up for ourselves and the people we love.
Self-care for you may look different for someone else. That’s okay! What matters is that you feel replenished and re-energized. It can be as simple as saving money to take yourself to the spa every month. Do it because you are worthy of being pampered like an A list celebrity. Self-care can be treating yourself to your favorite delicious meal after a long day at work or school. It can even look like a two-week vacation after three months of hard work on your business. Go for it because you earned that extra $1000 boost of income.
Self-care is About Caring for the Mind, Body, and Soul
However, self-care can also be establishing healthy boundaries. Sometimes you have to say “no” to plans and commitments because you need to rest. Sure, your friends maybe disappointed that you can’t go out with them Friday night but if they love you, they will respect that. The same applies to your job. It’s OK to say no to taking on extra duties, or clients if you are working for yourself. Black women need to see themselves as worthy of having a peace of mind. Squeezing in a few minutes of mindfulness meditation, yoga, or simply a nice walk is great for the soul. Things like prayer, journaling, or repeating positive affirmations are also small ways to take care of your spiritual, emotional, and mental health.
The more you take time to do things that make you feel good, the more you cultivate self-love. You begin to know your worth. You give yourself the permission to breathe deeply and feel whole again. You will begin to let go of those heavy burdens, be more present, and take one day at a time. You will be able to take care of the people you love without losing yourself in the process.
Black women carry too much weight of the world. It’s time to take care of our own inner worlds.