It would be remiss to say that the past few months have been incredibly hard, particularly for Black people who are attempting to figure out how to navigate life in this complicated current climate.
We’ve seen too many lives cut short by the hands of those who are supposed to protect us: Terence Crutcher, Korryn Gaines, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Delrawn Small, Keith Lamont Scott and 13-year-old Tyre King to name a few. We've also witnessed a tragedy that took the lives of five Dallas police officers and our justice system has continuously failed us over and over again. Despite every published article, report and aired broadcast about police brutality and state violence in Black and Brown communities, the very act of dropping a knee still invokes more outrage in this country than the actual message behind the protest.
But to us, the message is crystal clear: Black lives are not valued.
And for every dash cam video released, every mother, sister or son crying out for justice and for every time we see blue and red lights flash behind us, the message is also clear: We are not safe.
And most def, Black folks are incredibly resilient — we have no choice but to be — but there’s no way that our emotional and mental health are walking away unscathed from any of this. So please, go ahead and be politically engaged, stand up and have your voices heard, but don't forget that taking care of yourself and your psyche is just as important as being woke.
Here's how to do just that:
Unplug From Social Media and the Internet
Sometimes to deal you have to walk away by taking a break from it all. No more news, no more Facebook, no more talking about it for a little bit. Find the other things that can distract you. Yes, being informed is important, but staying in that dark place all the time can be detrimental to your health.
Go Ahead and Cry
I don’t care how tough you are or think you are, the notion that it’s a deadly crime for us to have a “wide set nose,” walk down the street, ask for directions and have Skittles in our pockets is emotionally exhausting. So please for your own sake, own that sadness and rage, but most important, let it out.
Call In 'Black' From Work
Like Eveyln From the Internets said, it’s important for Black folks who work in predominately white settings to give themselves a day to grieve in private If you have a sick or personal day to spare, go ahead and use it. It beats cussing Becky and them out at the water cooler for saying #AllLivesMatter.
Talk It Out
Talking to your friends and family — and even a therapist — can do wonders for your mental health. Sharing your feelings about how angry you are about what you are seeing and how it makes you feel about your own life can be extremely cathartic. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Find Joy in Your Life
It’s really important during this time you find not just a distraction, but what really makes you happy and carefree. Whether it’s taking a dance class, reading a good book, kicking it with your homies, playing with your kids, etc. Relish in that joy and let that guide you during these trying times.
Right now it seems like the world lacks its humanity, which is a horrible feeling. Volunteering, helping others and giving back to your community can give you a different lease on life and make you feel that you are making a difference to the world.
Isolate Yourself From (Or Drop) Folks Who Don’t Get It
It’s hard enough to process what’s going on in the world, you shouldn’t have to debate your humanity to white folks, strangers, co-workers and even people are supposed to love you. So go ahead and block out that noise and put yourself and your sanity first.
Pray to Something Higher
Whether you believe in Jesus, Allah or Buddah, if you believe in a high power, try praying to it, asking for strength or asking questions about why this is happening to us. Prayer can make you feel more focused and more in tune with yourself and your feelings. Not to mention, putting something up to the universe can make you feel better.
Love Yourself and Your People More
The most radical thing we as Black people can do in times like this is to unconditionally love ourselves and others in our community. We can never allow for the devaluing of our lives to stop us from seeing our greatness, value and infinite potential.
And NEVER EVER Lose Sight That...
(Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
For the past 10 years, Yusef has been dictating all of the beauty trends we emulate via his most famous client, none other than Rihanna. He started out his career as a performer, but he ended up behind the scenes. In Hairstory, he details his rise in the industry from aspiring singer to creative directing the hair for Fenty x Puma.