Brown Girls, Self Care, and Total Well-being

Let’s cut all the bullshit from the narrative that has become “self care.”

Self care, as it’s currently being sold, is a buzz word heard so often, from capitalists marketing, “an experience,” that it has lost almost all its meaning in the practical world.

In our podcast, A and I briefly discuss, “the face of self care,” and the products intended to aid in our self care. If you are paying any attention, you’ll realize, their commercials most often center white women, sometimes men, depending on the product but almost always white people.

Self care, in this way, doesn’t feel realistic for Brown girls but, here’s the truth my loves; Brown girls are the ones who need it most.

Let me explain before you come at us in a huff about, “all women.”

According to a report published by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2016, Black and other marginalized groups in America, experience more illness, worse outcomes, and higher rates of premature death as compared to white people.

Those are the facts.

There is a tremendous amount of systemic discrimination in the health care, housing, education, and justice systems, literally shortening the life span of marginalized individuals. When you then consider the individualized racism and sexism, you begin to see the type of uncontrollable stress Black and Non-black people of color are facing.

Self care isn’t a bubble bath after a session of acupuncture and a full body massage. Although I’m sure that blissful bullshit is superb, more often than not, it isn’t even accessible to the people who need it most. If you can access this type of relaxation, please step into the comments and tell us how.

For the rest of us, in survival mode this post is for you.

This post is for those of us who need self care as a matter of survival. For those of us who mark the passage of time by counting, then catching, our breath, waiting for the next shoe to drop. How many shoes could their possibly be?

We don’t know but our entire existence here at Brown Girls Out Loud is about centering you and your needs.

For many of us self care is a matter of life or early death.

Self care, through this lens, is a divestment from stress and the damage it does to our bodies:

And an investment in our selves and total well-being. Brown girls, this is our self care Venn diagram:

Self CareWheel
Adapted from: Transforming the pain: A workbook on vicarious traumatization. Self-care assessment, Saakvitne, Pearlman, & Staff of TSI/CAAP (1996).

In our quest for self care, we prioritize total well-being. When we prioritize our physical, emotional, and mental wellness we can find the balance needed to make room for  our professional, spiritual, and personal development.

We do this by engaging in activities, rituals, and practices that are beneficial in each area of self care.  Every day we wake up and go about our business with self care top of mind, we prioritize our total well-being.

Have you eaten?

Were you gentle with yourself after a mistake?

Have you given yourself time to reflect on hardships?

Self care demands we make room to laugh and love wholeheartedly, while also remembering to reach out and ask for help on days we just can’t do it on our own.

This diagram is a simplified way to put our self care needs into perspective. Use it to identify the areas you might be neglecting. Pinpoint any imbalance and refocus your efforts so that your needs are being met too.

Your total well-being depends on it!

Please take the time to check yourself and care for yourself. Put yourself on the list and love yourself. If you don’t, we are hard pressed to figure out who will.

Take care of you, Brown Girls!

Love always,

A+ J

 

 

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