The concept of self-care has now been turned into superficial and cutesy behaviors such as face masks and drinking tea. But self-care is much more than just indulgence and making yourself feel good with easy methods. True self-care also involves doing and saying things you’ve been avoiding, things that pain you to do. When it comes to the work we do on ourselves, it’s never an easy road nor is it always fun. Emotional work is a huge component of self-care that we as Black women fail to work through more often than not because we never really know where to start. We have so many complexes, so much trauma, and long-standing issues that we simply push to the back of our minds. In doing that, we let those issues fester up and manifest until it eats us alive and it feels like it’s too late to even turn back.
Life is short but it’s also long. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and improve for the better. And you don’t have to wait until the new year to do it, that change can start right now. The sooner the better.
1. Hold Yourself Accountable
Everything isn’t always someone else’s fault. It’s important that we learn to practice humility and humble ourselves, to put our ego aside and realize that sometimes we were in the wrong. Pointing fingers when you get yourself into a sticky and unsavory situation can only take you so far in life. When you own up to what you’ve done, it becomes a learning experience. You take what you’ve learned from your mistakes and practice it in everyday life to make better choices for yourself in the future.
2. Get It Done
Procrastination is a demon that manifests from fear. Fear of not executing something completely right, fear of failure, fear of something going wrong. Fear of the unknown really, because you never actually know what’s going to happen since you haven’t even tried or begun yet. Putting off important tasks and work that needs to be done will only stress you out even more down the line. Suck it up, breathe, and simply dive in and do it. Clean your home, finish that assignment, go to that appointment, have that conversation you’ve been dreading. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to clear your To-do list and your conscience.
3. Unlearn and Learn
Being Black has many perks since we’re inarguably the coolest, most creative, and attractive people on the planet. But the one main thing that continues to hold us back is that we are set in our ways, even when they aren’t good. We’ve inherited many things from previous generations. Money, property, heirlooms, recipes, but also lots of generational trauma which we’ve been unhealthily coping with for centuries. Know that just because something has been done the same way generation after generation, that doesn’t make it okay. Abuse, internalized antiblackness, the unhealthy unconditional love we give, the list goes on. Be observant in how your relatives and loved ones operate, see what went wrong and how you can fix it to break the cycle.
4. Always Make Yourself A Priority
This can be extremely hard for Black women since we’re naturally very selfless being. We’ve been taught to be nurturing to any and everybody, forgiveness of even the most diabolical behavior has been indoctrinated in us and as a result, we often put the needs and wants of others before us. Black women, even from young ages, are also often the breadwinners or caretakers of their families so making themselves a priority is completely unheard of.
5. Be Easy On Yourself
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Pressure to be perfect, pressure to be beautiful, pressure to be everything at once. Don’t burden yourself with the expectations and projections of other people, it will only be to your detriment. It is a very cliche saying but it’s always relevant; we all make mistakes and that is completely okay. Beating yourself up and talking down on yourself every time you do something wrong or something doesn’t turn out the way you expect it isn’t going to do you any good, remember that. Being kind to yourself for the big and little things will get you far in life and it will keep you from hardening up, it’s the last thing Black women need. In a world where Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole and beaten down for every little thing, find it in yourself to give yourself kindness, love, and patience every single day however and whenever you can.
“Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."