By Tianna Christine
Times are changing the way women of color perceive mental health and the discussions around them. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has named this year’s theme as “Together for Mental Health.” While their theme is to use our voices “together” to amplify mental health. We believe the best approach to better mental health is to come together and not face it alone. We truly believe mental health should be embraced as a collective and not a solo mission. We’ve come up with five ways to stay mentally healthy together.
Make social connection a priority
Connecting with others via phone or in person can really help boost your mood and give you that human element to connect with others. Having a simple weekly video call with family and friends can be just enough interaction to boost your mood. Try to meet up with those you care about for face-to-face contact if you comfortable to do so.
Indulge in a new hobby
Use your free time to try out something that excites you. Go online and find a group that also shares the same interest and attend their virtual or in-person events. Hobbies and special interest groups are great ways to meet new friends.
Use self-care activity cards
If you're not sure where to begin, self-care activity cards can be a great inspiration to get you started. Melanin Queen Cards feature 52 weeks of fun curated self-care activities that are made especially for women of color. Completing them with a partner will keep you both accountable. You can share your experiences every week over a video call or in person.
Get physically active
Now that the weather is warmer, use this time to get outside the house. Start small with walking and interacting with neighbors or other walkers on a path can give boost your mood and stimulate endorphins. Join a local boot camp or gym to also work out in a group setting or get a trainer for accountability.
Take mental breaks
Meditation and yoga are known to help reduce stress and anxiety. Join a yoga class with a virtual or local studio. If you’re in the mood for a longer break and would like to travel, look up local and destination retreats that offer yoga or meditation.
Tianna Christine is a yoga instructor and co-owner of Melanin Queen Creative, a company that is committed to uplifting women, especially women of color, through creative products that foster self-awareness, sisterhood, and personal growth.
For more resources, check out the following:
Balanced Black Girl Podcast
Bright Journey Counseling
Psychology Today: Find a Black and African-American Therapist
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
Therapy for Black Girls
Unleash Your Melanin Magic Self Care Cards
Yoga with Tianna: 5 Minute Guided Meditation: Peaceful Place / Mental Vacation