How We As Black Men Can Protect Our Mental Space
There is so much going on at the moment, we are in the middle of a global pandemic which is completely reshaping the world we live in and altering our reality in so many ways. That in itself comes with it’s own challenges. Add to that the fact that Black people are dying from Covid-19 at higher rates and are disproportionately more affected, both economically and health wise by this pandemic. Throw on top of that the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police and it quickly becomes clear why 2020 can be seen as especially overwhelming for Black people. It is therefore imperative that we all take a moment to take note of our mental health and to take steps to make sure we are taking good care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually.
We care about our Black men and wanted to look at ways we can provide valuable tips on how Black men can protect their mental space. We are in no way trained professionals in this field and would strongly advise you visit websites like Black Mind Matters UK for professional support, who are offering free counselling to Black people. Here are a few things we have learned through research and reading that we hope will be useful to you too
Take a break
We know this feels counterintuitive at a time when we are compelled to act. At a time when taking a break feels like a luxury we simply can not afford. We completely understand that but we are no good to others unless we are mentally strong, physically healthy and spiritually fully charged. Taking a break to breathe, to recoup, to recharge, is vitally important and helps minimize the risk of your burning out.
Open up and talk
We are always taught to be strong and to soldier through and therefore are more reluctant to admit when we need help or support. Speaking openly about our feelings can sometimes make us feel that we come across as weak. However, speaking up is an important part of taking care of our mental health as individuals and as a collective. Speak to family, friends, professionals, if possible, to help navigate your feelings and emotions and avoid them building up.
Largely seen as “holistic” or “new age” meditation is often dismissed, however there are real, scientifically backed studies on the benefits of meditation.
Regular meditation physically changes both the function and structure of the brain. Whereas a gym workout improves your body and builds muscle, regular meditation builds grey matter which helps manage anxiety, reduces stress, promotes emotional health, enhances self awareness and lengthens attention span.
It can be difficult to simply pause and be still in times of chaos, however if anyone needs ways to reduce stress and improve our mental well being it’s Black men.
We recommend starting at 5 minutes and working your way up to 25 minutes per day (Or more). Get started with a meditation app or simply search “Guided Meditation” on YouTube.
Write in a journal
If you are someone who finds it difficult to discuss inner thoughts with others, journaling can still provide some form of release. Whether consciously or unconsciously our minds are always ticking away and it’s important for us to work through and detangle these inner thoughts and feelings that may swirl in our minds.
Allowing your thoughts to flow with 10 mins of silent journaling can help you to address and reflect on what may have been troubling you deep down and more importantly find solutions. Many of the greatest minds have kept a journal of their thoughts, so as with meditation this is nothing to sniff at.
In times where we are constantly bombarded with content, media and information it is vital to take these moments to declutter our mind.