How to Unplug, Set Boundaries, and Practice Self-Care During Tumultuous Times, by Taneasha White
By Taneasha White (Published June 15, 2020)
Here’s how to unplug, unwind, set boundaries, and stay healthy as we fight systemic racism and police brutality.
As hundreds of thousands gather to protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd around the world, you may feel obligated to participate in demonstrations or physical actions — especially if you’re a Black person dedicated to social justice. But it’s important to remember that as people living within intersectional identities, putting your body on the line is not an obligation. What’s non-negotiable is that you value your wellness. We have to remember that caring for ourselves is equivalent to taking care of your community.
2020 has proven to be a traumatic year, especially for folks within the Black community. The steadily shocking death toll due to COVID-19, which affects African American communities in higher numbers than any other demographic, can be partly attributed to structural and institutional inequalities such as barriers to healthcare access and food deserts. This Spring brought back-to-back losses of Black community members like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, who were all murdered at the hands of the police. Uprisings after these deaths have emerged throughout the country and have spread overseas, and police, state, and federal powers have responded with force.
Uprisings are a sign of revolution, and this global pushback is 400 years in the making. Black communities are tired. With all the talk and energy around fighting back that’s circulated over the past couple months, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself first. Yet “self-care” has become a trend, often triggering images of bubble baths and maxed out credit cards. While there is no right or wrong way to take care of yourself, here are ways to focus on both your mental health and general wellness as we rise up against systemic racism and seek justice for those we’ve lost at the hands of police this year.
Unplug and Follow the News With Intentionality
The news cycle never stops, and taking in a constant barrage of images of Black death and grief can be overwhelming. Don’t feel guilty about taking intentional time away from your phone or turning away from the deluge of information. You might find it helpful to schedule regular, structured times to tune in, like catching the news during your morning coffee or your lunch break but committing to turning off the TV during dinner. Setting other limits that promote your wellbeing — like not watching news before bed or flicking the channel to something more serene that might help you get to sleep — can help set boundaries to promote a healthier relationship to news consumption, especially at a time when fresh headlines are nonstop.
Can’t commit to turning your phone off? Tune in to wellness-focused social media accounts and follow sources that affirm your needs as a whole being. Here are some examples of accounts that promote the necessity of rest, mindful movement, and social justice-based education:
The Nap Ministry is “an organization that examines the liberating power of naps,” challenging the idea of hustle culture and promoting rest as a central tenet of both wellness and liberation. Founded in 2016 by the artist and activist Tricia Hersey, their accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter promote content that will encourage you to see making space for sleep as a powerful act of resistance.