There’s no doubt the first half of 2020 came in like a flood. Me celebrating New Year’s Day with my 98-year-old mother at her nursing home seems like a lifetime ago. Next thing I know, words like coronavirus and pandemic started to emerge in every day news. Coronavirus? COVID-19? What is that? Contagious? People dying from this unseen, never before heard of novel coronavirus?
6 months later, hundreds of thousands have recovered from it, but here in the United States, it has killed over 110,000 people, with the majority of people it has killed are African-Americans.
Speaking of African-Americans, there’s been another “pandemic” of sorts that has raised its ugly head – racism. I will not go into detail here on my blog as we ALL know of the recent events that have taken place and how it has affected the entire world!
With all of these traumatic things going on, it is very, very hard to keep a level head and remain sane. Seeing all the sadness from patient’s dying of COVID-19, healthcare workers crying and being stretched to the limit trying to save lives, not having enough PPE and ventilators and becoming ill themselves, people not being able to be with their loved ones when they do pass, not being able to communicate, not being able to have a proper funeral for them, people abruptly losing their jobs, some permanently due to the contagiousness of this virus and a plan in place for the whole country to social distance from one another and seeing people die by the hands of police officers who are supposed to be the very ones protecting us – all of that is post-traumatic stress disorder!
I’m no counselor or mental health expert, but I do know that we all must take a break from all of this and somehow get our mental health in check. Being an African-American, I have to find ways to keep a healthy state of mind. An unhealthy state of mind plays a HUGE role in having an unhealthy body. Depression sets in, anxiety comes on us and therefore we eat unhealthy foods which causes hypertension or diabetes or obesity or many other health issues. It is very hard to keep that self control in eating healthy when you’re depressed. It’s been very hard for me, but the more I tune out the negative distractions, the easier this becomes. Here are a few things that have helped me to keep a healthy mindset and not allow my body to become sick because it can.
- I spend time alone, no television no social media of any kind for either several hours or most of that particular day.
- Do breathing exercises (something I was taught after having my heart attack) which greatly relieves anxiety and clears your mind.
- Take a nice relaxing bath with aromatic bath salts allowing your body to relax and heal.
- Use 900 mg droplets of CBD oil before bedtime which really helps slow and almost stop the night terrors I’ve been having. These night terrors have been going on for 3-5 years now, again due to lots of stressors over the years. This oil allows me to get a great full nights’ sleep without waking up several times throughout the night.
- Listen to either calming music or some smooth jazz or a very positive podcast throughout the day. This is done at least 70% of my day!
- When I’m ready to have wise discussions, I first have discussions with my African-American sisters and brothers to discuss things we’ve never discussed before as well as checking on each other’s well being. I feel this is a must in the black community. We discuss how we feel about current events, our children and how the world sees them now and seeing how we can be a part of the solution.
- I also allow myself to be open (only a small amount of time) and discuss with my non-black allies how they can also be a part of the solution. This discussion has to be done in phases because there is so much past hurts and pains that it’s awkward for them and hurtful yet helpful for me. I agree with the saying that it’s uncomfortable to be comfortable!
I know there are many other things that can be done to relieve the stress and anxiety that seem to be facing us on a daily basis. The world as we knew it, just 7 months ago, will never ever be the same again. Once we accept that fact, we can then accept the fact that we all need a mental health checkup, I’d say weekly! Talk it out with your friends, cry and scream if you have to. Let’s no longer hold things in of how we feel. Lets put our frustrations into action by knowing who you are and knowing you CAN be a person of change, whether helping an organization of your choice or whatever positive choice you choose. After that, always find some quiet time for yourself – your spirit and your soul needs a daily rejuvenation!