If you follow me on any social media then you may know that yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. I literally spent the entire day there from open to close and learned so much. It was an unbelievable experience that I hope everyone gets to have. Coming out of the museum I was loving and reveling in all of my Blackness but also acutely aware of everything that we have overcome and all of the progress that still needs to be made.
One area of progress is our health. By now, most of us know that the Black population overall has worse health outcomes than the White population. We also know that we are a resilient people who just need the tools, resources and drive to make our lives even better. My Self-Care Sunday posts will present different strategies, tools and resources that we can use to help improve our health. For the first week I want to give you 6 general tips that can help us get on the road to healthier outcomes, I will dedicate one post for each of these in the coming weeks.
1. Protect Your Mental Health
We are faced with serious traumas to our mental health on a regular basis. Whether its watching a video of yet another unarmed black person being killed, dealing with racism in your own life or coping with family/work/money stresses every day can be a fight for your mental health. Take breaks and do things that make you happy and keep you positive. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to seek help or someone to talk to. Good mental health is a major key to an overall healthy life.
2. Strive for Consistency Rather than Perfection
Many of us have goals to try to change or add new things in our lives such as diet or exercise, cutting back on drinking or smoking or trying a new skin/hair regimen. Sometimes we have a habit of giving up if well fall of the horse. Rather than setting yourself up for a fail by expecting perfection, strive instead for consistency. None of us are perfect, we will all fall into an old behavior or have a cheat day or have a lazy day. The key is to pick the pieces back up and get back on track. The more consistent we are the closer we will be to perfection, but by not requiring perfection we give ourselves the opportunity to regroup if we do fail.
3. Do Things for Yourself, Learn to Say No and Enjoy Your Peace
Honestly, this is one I have always struggled with, but saying no can be a very healthy choice. We often have a hard time saying no to others because we don't want to be selfish or don't want to let a person down. The problem is that always saying yes can cause you stress, can make you overworked and can lead to resentment. Don't be a yes person; instead do the things that you want, the things you enjoy and the things that will make a positive impact on your life.
4. Find Your Joy in Exercise
For a lot of us, exercise is not something we look forward to or want to do. With all of the different types of exercise available now, finding a type that you enjoy is even more accessible. Head over to Living Social or Groupon to get some ideas and discounts on classes and gyms. Also consider something like Class Pass, which allows you to pay a monthly fee to try various types of classes. Try new things until you find something you love and then make it a part of your life. We are more likely to maintain the things we enjoy.
5. Gain a New Perspective
Trying new things challenges you to change your perspective. Pick up a new hobby, take a class (Coursera has a ton of free and cheap classes on all different topics), plan a trip to somewhere you have never been. Meetup.com is a great place to start to find a community of people who are doing things you are interested in. Keep your mind fresh and get out of any ruts or slumps. Don't be afraid to take healthy risks, it may just open up amazing doors and opportunities for you.
6. Practice Self-Love
This is the most important one in my opinion. The key to all happiness is loving yourself. Remember to speak kindly to yourself. Encourage yourself and be confident in your abilities. Walk with you shoulders back and head high. Find ways to build up your self esteem like posting positive messages where you'll see them daily, have mirror time (stand in front of a mirror and study all of the amazing things about your self and then go forth and prosper), find spiritual guidance through prayer and/or meditation. Whatever you do, make it great, make it yours and celebrate yourself at all times!
What are some of you favorite Self-Care tips? Drop a comment below and share them. Did you read or hear about something that you would like more information on? Let me know and I will include it as a topic on the blog. Share and subscribe for future updates.
"Improving our health literacy so that we all may live healthier, more abundant lives."