Check the headlines. Scroll through your social media feed. Flip through the news. Hard to ignore the dismal news. Sure there are some sporadic glimpses of goodness, but there’s still Donald Trump and his ridiculous wall. Babies are being suspended from school because their natural hair is ‘unkempt.’ The Flint water disaster is inescapable. There’s social, racial, and economic unrest. Most annoyingly, marginalized peoples’ voices are being swallowed up in the presidential campaign circus. You are constantly connected to this endless stream of news. It flows into your subconscious freely settling in, sometimes without permission.
In your daily scroll through it is easy for you to forget about yourself. What happens to you in the process? You absorb the headlines and react in a number of ways. Maybe you internalize and try to make since of the inhumanity. Possibly you respond with rage and project that anger onto loved ones, or strangers. Sometimes you get overwhelmed and go into isolation refusing to acknowledge the injustice and inhumanity around you. None of these reactions feed you with the positivity necessary to continue on to revolt against and question inequality. You cannot forget about you. Here are some ways to check yourself.
Disconnect. Turn off the computer, disable push notifications, step away from social media. You control what you see, hear, and absorb. Filtering those things will help to lighten the load of hopeless news that is dumped on you daily. And you will physically feel the lift! It’s like a heavy weight that sits on your chest. Once you step away from the screen you are greeted with the possibility of optimism.
If you must remain connected stay away from the comment section. If you had any hope it would be lost in the comment section. When I read the comment section I am baffled and amazed at the amount of ignorance and hate. I once read, in terror, people completely tearing down a writer’s call for a better representation of diverse languages in the public library. Commenters blasted, “this is America. Learn English!” and all sorts of insensitive banter that further marginalizes people. Commenters use the anonymity of the internet to work through their issues of hate and all other awful-isms.
Self-care is not selfish. Taking time to tend to your own needs is essential. Create a space that you can go to that will provide uninhibited freedom. This can be a physical, or simply a mental space that is clear of negativity. Reading, coloring, and coffee shops are my favorite spaces. I use these things to release and turn away even if it’s just for a few hours. Once I’ve had that moment I’m ready to return to reality.
Seek out goodness. Give your attention to something that will re-inspire you. Redirect your attention to positive news. Hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic #1000BlackGirlBooks and the oh so beautiful #TrapCovers will keep you well balanced and humored. Burnout is real and you need your energy to face and fight the realities of living. A temporary breaks from news feeds is necessary to maintain balance between staying informed and protecting your sanity.
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