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Strength in Our Struggles: Navigating Mental Wellness as Black Women

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For many of us, we find ourselves carefully balancing on a tightrope of personal aspirations and what society expects. In addition to this significant weight on our shoulders, we’re trying to crush our careers while showing up for our families and community. 

It’s a lot, and every so often, we push our mental wellness onto the back burner and the weight becomes unbearable. When our mental health takes a back seat, the struggle has a ripple effect and impacts all aspects of our lives — the career that we’ve worked so hard for and our personal relationships become collateral. 

The intersection of mental wellness and Black womanhood 

It’s no surprise that Black women face out-of-the-ordinary stressors and challenges that impact our holistic well-being and mental health. Plus, the intersections of gender and race lead to complex experiences that can be detrimental to our overall health. We unfortunately live in a society that, more often than not, perpetuates upsetting discrimination and stereotypes against Black women. So for this reason, it’s absolutely crucial that we prioritize self-care and our mental wellness, so we can be the best version of ourselves and show up for others.

You may be wondering, “What exactly is mental wellness?” Simply put, it involves caring for our social, psychological, and emotional well-being through stress management, coping strategies, and personal growth. And through acts of self-care, we can promote our emotional, spiritual, and physical health, which is also critical. With society’s unrealistic expectations, it can be easy to lose yourself along the journey and forget about what truly matters: your happiness. Because of this, the most crucial component of your mental wellness is prioritizing yourself and taking the time to do the things that make you feel fulfilled.

More often than not, Black women find themselves facing unique barriers to mental health resources. They may also experience shame surrounding mental health. For example, some women may neglect to seek help as they are afraid of being labeled “crazy” or too unwell to continue with their responsibilities in their professional and personal life. However, remember that seeking help is a sign of strength and not a sign of weakness.

In this blog post, we’ll share some helpful coping strategies for managing anxiety and stress, as well as ways you can prioritize self-care. We understand that life can get tricky and we are here for you, sis. You’re more than deserving of support, care, and love from yourself and the people around you.

Managing anxiety and stress

Black women have to deal with special challenges in and out of the workplace. These situations can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which can decrease your productivity and put your happiness at risk.

Here are some ways you can manage your anxiety and stress on a daily basis:

  • Surround yourself with positive influences – Finding a community of supportive Black women can help you succeed in all aspects of your life. A sisterhood with similar values can encourage your personal growth, as well as inspire and motivate you. In times of stress, they can ease your worries, lend a helping hand, or simply just listen as you vent.
  • Take care of yourself as best as you can – This means eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising, and getting a decent sleep every night. But we know this can be easier said than done, especially if you have a family that depends on you. Just try your best to treat your body with respect and slow down whenever possible.
  • Learn your triggers – We all have things that set us off. Identifying these situations or patterns can help you avoid running into them in the future.

Prioritizing self-care

Making time for self-care is not selfish — don’t let anyone tell you that. Instead, it’s necessary and in some cases, can even be life-saving. Here are some tips for prioritizing self-care: 

  • Set aside 15 minutes each day to do whatever brings you joy, happiness, or a sense of relaxation. During your “me time” you can go for a walk, have a long shower, practice yoga, watch a comedy sketch online, or literally anything else that will boost your serotonin.
  • Pay attention to your inner dialogue – Be mindful of how you talk to yourself, and when you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, combat it with something more positive.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – Remember what they say: comparison is the thief of joy. An important part of self-care is being grateful for all you’ve accomplished. Don’t let someone’s Instagram post make you feel as if your life is inferior.
  • Set goals – Setting measurable and attainable goals for your life can help you grow, flourish, and discover your purpose. So, get out the scissors and magazines, and start putting together that vision board!

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