We are in the midst of unprecedented times. On one side, we are still trying to fight off coronavirus, in constant fear of a new surge come fall. On the other, we are still trying to fight off racism, risking our lives to stand up for what is right and just.
Although we are doing our best to help and protect others, at the end of the day, we are left depleted, exhausted, and having little to give ourselves. But the fight continues. Right now, there are important things that you need to hear, read, and repeat to others, so that we can get through everything safely, smartly, and having created change.
Black Lives Matter
This is the most important thing you need to know right now. Black Lives Matter. We are standing up to make sure this is reflected in the police force, government, and in society as a whole. Everyone must do their part to make sure this message is relayed loud and clear.
Your Actions Towards Justice Are Making a Difference
You don’t have to march in the streets if you don’t want to. But you have to do something. Share important posts, talk about what’s happening with those you know, donate to organizations supporting the cause and creating the change we are all seeking. Educate yourself, and others. Vote. Use your voice, however you see fit–but use it.
Please Make Sure to Take Care of Yourself
We are going through two major crises right now, and we are in threat of physical, mental, and emotional harm. Self-care is important always, but more so now. Please take the time to stop, disconnect when needed, and replenish by taking the time to relax and unwind. This can mean having a cup of chamomile tea, soaking in a bath with epsom salt, talking to a friend on the phone, or taking a yoga class on YouTube. When you help yourself, you are then able to help others.
Acknowledge and Honor Your Feelings
We may be cycling through many of them right now, but it is important to acknowledge your feelings. The good and the bad. We are not going to feel super positive all the time, and that’s fine, just like knowing that feeling sad is something that doesn’t have to last forever. Many, if not all of us are, in fact, angry right now, and anger is an emotion we have to acknowledge, although it may seem scary to do so. Everything from talking to a friend, to helpful apps, to confiding to an educated professional can give you extra tools to assist in feeling your best every day. But, your feelings are valid.
Know When to Take a Break from the News and Social Media
There is a constant pull between wanting to be informed with all the up-to-the-minute news, and getting so overwhelmed you want to turn off your TV and phone permanently. Don’t feel guilty about having to take a momentary break from the news and social media. It’s needed! In fact, too much information at once and you’ll won’t even be able to take it all in. Knowing when to hit pause is a crucial part of self-care.
Just because we think we know it all doesn’t mean that we do. And, you have to think about the filter through which you learn and understand things. This is the time to take in as much information about racism, antii-racism, social justice, laws pertaining to law enforcement and systemic racism. and more. And we have to make sure we are hearing what black voices are trying to tell us. Because they’ve been trying to tell us these things for way too long–it’s time for everyone to listen, together.
Talk About It
This is the time to talk about race and racism with everyone. The time to shut down racist “jokes,” ignorance, and beliefs. The time to be honest with yourself and others and help guide loved ones to a better place of understanding, acceptance, and a desire for justice. While you can’t change others, you can start a dialogue that will get everyone thinking, make them fully aware of what’s happening now, and offer ways in how they can help change it.
Eat Healthy, Exercise, and Drink Plenty of Water
When a lot of us are feeling down, bored, and/or stressed, we instantly reach for the rich, indulgent, and often unhealthy comfort food. While it seems to offer a momentary feeling of euphoria, we are usually left feeling gross and guilty for having a bit too much culinary fun (note: it’s perfectly great to treat yourself, though. Enjoy your cheat day, m’ijas!). Eating healthy truly helps your mood, by healing your system from the inside out. The same goes for drinking enough water (usually half your body weight in ounces) and exercising. Don’t ignore these fundamental things, as doing so will definitely have you feeling depleted.
Turn to Your Faith
Whatever your beliefs, prayer, meditation, and/or connecting to your spirituality helps and heals. Faith gives us the power to know that better days are just on the other side of this pandemic, and the belief that the justice we are fighting for is possible. It also gives us the opportunity to stop believing we are in control of everything, and give that power up to who it truly belongs to.
Check Your Own Privilege
If you are a white Latinx, then you have a privilege Afro-Latinxs don’t. You can’t pretend your struggle is the same as theirs. When you are honest with yourself, and inform yourself of how white privilege works, you will see how unfair Black Americans (and those of African descent everywhere) have had it. And then you can help dismantle the whole thing. This privilege, and colorism exist within the Latinx community, and we have to make sure it ceases to.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Put your money where your mouth is, and where your values are. The best way to support a group in America is with the dollar. Support Black businesses, especially those dedicated to create justice and change. On the flip side, stop giving your money to companies and groups that aren’t supporting, and worse yet, attacking Black communities. Do your research on what you’re spending on.
Fund Racial Justice
There are several groups who are putting in the work to educate the masses on racism, pursue justice, and make change happen. They need our help to spread the message, but they also need funding. Donate to the organizations who are, in fact, making the world a better place.
Find Healing in Each Other
While we often isolate in times of stress and sadness, it is beneficial to instead reach out. We are all going through similar emotions and feelings, and sharing them, and recognizing that we are not alone in experiencing them, is incredibly healing. We are a community, and that includes coming together to find solace, inspiration, and empowerment.
Speak to a Therapist or Counselor if You Need To
We are all dealing with an avalanche of emotions that are often hard to navigate. We might feel empowered, yet scared, hopeful, yet depressed. And very tired. You don’t have to make it look like you’re okay all the time–that’s not the typical human experience. It is perfectly ok, however, to speak to a professional that can offer you the right tools to deal and thrive during these trying times. Another helpful thing to turn to are podcasts that offer this advice for free, straight from the experts.
You Better Vote
Vote. Vote, even if you think it won’t matter. We have to all have to show up and have our voices heard at the polls. We have to continue to vote people into office who represent us, and care about equality and justice. This is not the time to check out of being part of a democracy.