Today, as women of color we are facing so much turmoil in this world that we live in. We are constantly bombarded with images of despair from the pandemic to seeing racial tensions. We also see war raging in other countries like what is going on in Israel. Not to mention in the workforce, women make less than men no matter how wonderful they are at their jobs (yes, the glass ceiling effect is still very much real).
So, how do we cope? Even if we have a strong faith and belief system, sometimes the going gets rough and it is very difficult to maintain a positive disposition. I talked to a few of my closest friends and asked them what are ways that they stay grounded and motivated to stay strong even when our world around us is in calamity.
My best friend, Gabrielle, stated that her self care routine consists of talking to God and speaking self-affirmations over herself. She also surrounds herself with people that look like her and have a similar belief system. My cousin, Shaqueta, stated that for her she looks to her daughter for motivation to continue moving ahead in life.
She reported that “I can’t live a negative lifestyle because I don’t want that to spill over into her life. I was raised to speak up about current events but not allow it to keep me down.” Lastly, my friend Brooke, stated that she laughs and jokes to get through the painful ordeals that life deals us at times (reminds me of Kevin Hart “Laugh at My Pain). She went on to say that “I laugh through my pain because if I really think about everything I been through and what is going on around me it will cause my downfall.
I stay focused on everything that I have going on in my life. Even though it can be overwhelming at times, it keeps me busy and motivated to continue going. Plus, now I have better time management skills and budget my time wisely and allow time for rest.
I try to invest my time and energy into my family and my community because I believe that iron sharpens iron. I also do things that make me happy including self care such as getting my hair and nails done. I started focusing on my mental health more. I try to be more vocal about racism and taking a stand for myself. I advocate for my children by being proactive in protecting them. I make sure that I monitor them to prevent them from harm.”
I was inspired by all of these ladies’ great responses, and it made me think closely about what I do to maintain a functional headspace to be productive in this world. For me, like Gabrielle stated, I pray and talk to God constantly and I also use affirmations to stay grounded. I have recently incorporated meditation and a quiet hour before bed into my nightly routine. This has really helped me to keep a positive outlook on life.
I also stay educated about current events. I try to strictly look at facts first and then I formulate my own opinion. I try to also keep in mind that while there is a lot of racism going on in this country at this time-everyone is not racist. I cannot lump everyone into one group, therefore, I look at each situation and decide how to respond. I also utilize my social media platforms to bring awareness to situations.
In conjunction with this, I have real conversations with my family, friends and co-workers to get different perspectives and to also realize that I am not alone in feeling the effects of the heaviness of life today. Also, I feel when we share information with one another then we all can be intentional in moving forward in the right direction.
I also have become more intentional in self care. I remind myself that self care is not only about pedicures, massages, and other luxuries- it is also about maintaining a clean living environment to function and rest in, accepting constructive criticism when warranted, being patient with oneself, and learning to accept help from others when it is needed because life is not meant to be a solo journey.
As mentioned previously, life is not a solo journey. It is okay to find comfort and solace in a plethora of ways. Another way that I cope is by listening to music, and the title of this article is named after a song by the artist, Jojo. I have been a huge fan of Jojo since I was 13 years old, and this song was on her first album. As implied, this song is about pressing on despite the circumstances. All of us have to keep going to create a legacy for our future generations so that they can look back and say that despite everything they went through- they still managed and if they can manage then I can, too. Stay blessed.