Sure fire ways to cleanse yourself of negative energy, as told by black womxn.
When you think of self care what comes to mind? Is it a pretty blonde woman doing warrior pose on a yoga mat? Or a lady wrapped in towels with cucumbers over her eyes? Now how often do you see yourself reflected in this imagery? That’s what I thought.
Rarely do we associate self care with blackness, as it is not a luxury that black womxn typically have as the caretakers of the world. It is long overdue for Black womxn to start putting ourselves first and taking the necessary steps to clear the negative energy that has been surrounding us for so long. But what does self care look like for a Black womxn? With jobs, kids, school, families, organizing, and all the other hats we wear, a day at the spa isn’t really in the cards for a lot of us. So I have asked 7 black womxn how they practice self care to give you an idea of what it can look like to stop and love yourself even with a busy life.
“It’s important for Black womxn to focus on themselves because we were always taught to take care of others before ourselves.”
As a nurse, entrepreneur, and single mother of two, Chelle knows the importance of practicing self care on a daily basis. “I practice self care by starting each day with prayer and meditation to keep my mind and spirit in a good place,” She said. Although her mother passed when she was just a child, she learned to care for herself with the help of her aunts and other inspiring women in her life. Chelle believes that “It’s important for Black womxn to focus on themselves because we were always taught to take care of others before ourselves.” Growing up with Chelle as my mother, I always thought it was weird how much time she would take for herself and how free she was as a Black woman. Now that I’m older I realize that she needed that time to recharge. I’m happy I grew up seeing what loving oneself looked like from an early age. My mom said, “I firmly believe that if you don’t take care of yourself then you’re no good to anyone else.”
“Saying no is one of the most powerful ways to remain in control of your life and take care of yourself.”
Chanelle is a 27 year old high school teacher who doesn’t get much time to herself during the school year. She told me “During the school year I typically try to self care on the weekends, but there’s not nearly enough time! So I usually use my entire Summer for self care.” It can be hard to make time for yourself when you’re dealing with the constant demands of your students, staff, boyfriend, etc. We have to learn to set boundaries in order to make time for ourselves. “The world is so demanding of our time, energy, and excellence. If I’m practicing self care then I’m not answering the call for any of that.”
Chanelle advocates that black womxn should learn how to say no to tending to other’s needs and practice saying yes to ourselves. She said, “Rule number 1: Say no. Just because you’re good at what you do does not mean your job, friends, or family get access to your skills 24/7. Saying no is one of the most powerful ways to remain in control of your life and take care of yourself.”
Knowing Your Worth
“When we put ourselves first we exude greatness that can’t be missed.”
Krystina knows all too well the trials and tribulations that Black womxn face while working on their education. “So many people were asking so much of me during my undergraduate years. I was working, going to school, and volunteering. I was the literal definition of burnt out.” She said, “After a while my grades started to suffer because I was working so much overtime for white people who didn’t respect me. I had to start telling people no and start loving me and focusing on me. So I started pampering myself by going to spas, taking days off, sleeping more, having me a glass of wine, and just relaxing. Also after seeing and learning of the maltreatment of Black intellectuals in the workplace, I learned to demand respect and only work in an environment that provides and produces such.”
Krystina forgot to center herself, as many Black womxn do. Womxn with more demanding lifestyles tend to put themselves last, but we’re here to remind you to center yourself. “Black womxn are never the center, so we need to emphasize caring for ourselves. Black womxn need to put themselves first because other communities don’t see our value and our worth. When we put ourselves first we exude greatness that can’t be missed,” said the 27 year old student and nurse.
Holding Yourself Accountable
“By taking time to center ourselves, we move closer to a world in which we not only survive, we thrive.”
While it can be really nice to take care of our bodies, practicing self care is more than just physical cleansing. Caring for yourself means putting in the work to make sure your mental health is okay along with your physical health. Julie, a 30 year old music teacher and newlywed, knows how important it is to take care of every part of oneself. She says that “self care means tending to your needs: mental, physical, social, etc. It’s recharging your battery, and it’s also accountability to yourself in action. I don’t know if the latter gets discussed enough, but self care isn’t just putting on a skincare mask and taking a bubble bath. It’s also making sure you’re taking your meds on time or making a time management plan when you need it. I practice self care in a variety of ways. I take my meds as well as multivitamins and fish oil pills daily. I let myself recharge when I need to. I use a bullet journal as my planner. I go to therapy with an amazing Black woman therapist.”
We all know that mental health is a taboo topic among Black communities, but it is something that has to be addressed when talking about self care. It’s up to us as individuals to contribute to changing the stigma by seeking help when we need it. It is important to make sure our minds and bodies are as healthy on the inside as they are on the outside. Julie believes that “We live in a society that wasn’t built for us to thrive. We have to take care of ourselves as an act of resistance and survival. The end goal of fighting our oppression isn’t just survival, though. It’s joy and thriving. By taking time to center ourselves, we move closer to a world in which we not only survive, we thrive. We can’t fill from an empty cup. By centering ourselves, we sustain ourselves to do the work necessary.”
When we think about our personal growth and evolution, we hardly ever consider the little steps that we take to be better. Like reading a blog post about how to practice self care (don’t side eye me). Just by reading this post you are growing and hopefully learning. Just by sharing these stories, we are helping Black womxn normalize self care. I interviewed these incredible women to impart their wisdom and insight onto whoever needs it. If it’s you, I hope these tips offer you clarity and help you begin to clear away any negative energy in your life. Check back later this week for part 2 of this post, where you’ll read about how 4 more Black womxn practice self care, including me! Until then comment below to share some of your self care practices!