What a week it has been! The violence that erupted in Washington D.C. last week was, to put it mildly, deeply upsetting. The anger that coursed through my body on Wednesday left me exhausted and honestly bordering on despair.
I wept as I thought about the fact that Black people would have been shot dead, no questions asked. But white folks were allowed to run through those halls essentially unchecked. It was white privilege on display in undisputable ways.
Trauma responses were definitely triggered in Black and brown bodies, and likely in white bodies as well. As Resmaa Menakem shares in his book My Grandmother’s Hands, racialized trauma lives in BOTH black and white bodies.
This week, I’d like to share with you a few things to help you regulate your nervous system and manage stressful times like this. Let me say upfront, I am not a counselor or a therapist. What I’m sharing is from my personal experience and what I’ve learned from others who are skilled in this area.
Limit your social media and news scrolling
Yes, you need to stay informed AND too much will have a negative impact on you. You don’t have to get off completely but establishing boundaries is healthy. I got off social media for the weekend and it was a good reset for me.
Come back to your breath
Coming back to your breath is one of the easiest tools for managing stressful times. Your breath is literally your life. If you notice it is getting shallow or speeding up, intentionally take a few deep breaths. I teach clients a technique I call 5 Breaths. Breathe in for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times. By the time you get to the third breath, you’ll begin to feel calmer.
Feel your feelings
Ignoring your feelings and emotions won’t make them go away. So, cry, scream, throw things (preferably nothing breakable), do whatever you need to do to feel those feelings. I would also add, don’t judge them. Emotions are neither bad nor good, they simply are. Feel them so you can move through them.
Move your body
Emotions build up in our body as excess energy. You have to move your body to move that energy. I like a pool noodle for processing anger. You could also kick around a box. Or go for a run or walk. Anything to get that excess energy out of your body.
Find your voice and use it
History has its eyes on us as we navigate these difficult times. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending everything is okay is NOT an option. You don’t need to become a full-time activist. You can, however, find small ways within your spheres of influence to speak up against injustice whenever you see it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list for managing stressful times. It’s simply a place to start. Now, I’d like to hear from you. Which of these tips resonates most for you? Is there anything you would add to this list? Reply and let me know.
Here’s to you staying safe, healthy, and well-regulated for this work.
From my heart to yours,
P.S: If you would like personalized support in your anti-racism journey, I now offer one-on-one anti-racism coaching. You can click here to schedule a complimentary call with me where we can explore your individual needs as it relates to you doing this work.