In today's day and age, it’s easy to feel like you’re being tugged in a dozen different directions. Thanks to social media, life is no longer just about maintaining strong relationships while balancing work. We are also now expected to keep up with the latest news, as well as to update and check social media regularly in order to stay “in the loop”.
As black women, it seems like there’s always a reason for outrage, especially because our image is often attacked publicly in the media, making us feel we have to be on the quick defense at all times. This can be harmful and detrimental to our mental health and physical health, and it’s vital that we don’t begin to neglect ourselves as a result. Here are some tips to remind you how to prevent yourself from burning out and feeling overwhelmed.
1. Remember, It’s Not Your Job To Save The World
There are a number of four-letter words I could use to describe the state of the world right now, especially the world as it has been known to treat black women. There’s often so much chaos going on and it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to take on the burden of “fixing” everything. If you’ve gotten into the habit of speaking out about injustice on social media, or involved yourself in some other type of activism, it’s important to remember to take breaks often and recharge. It helps to try and make peace with the chaotic state of the world and accept it.
This doesn’t mean you have to be okay with it, but you also need to acknowledge that you can only do your part (so long as it doesn’t interfere with your health and happiness) and that it’s not your responsibility to save and fix everyone and everything. Even if you’re not into activism and your goal is simply to balance motherhood, a social life and a career, it’s still very possible to give too much of yourself to others and forget to invest in yourself. Therefore, you need to ensure that you’re not always playing the role of the nurturer, but that you’re also allow others to nurture and give back to you.
2. Don’t Take On More Than You Can Handle
The best way to prevent burnout as a black woman, is to learn the power of the word no. Say no to things that won’t easily fit into your schedule or improve the state of your life as it is. If the idea of something makes you hyperventilate, don’t be afraid to put it off for another time when you have more disposable time—or even just say no…for good. There’s so much to do and so little time, so ensure that you’re spending your time on things that genuinely matter and will positively impact your life.
a. Delegate Your Responsibilities
Delegating your responsibilities doesn’t mean you have to pull out your wallet and hire an assistant. Other ways of lightening your load include getting a dog walker, or simply hiring a cousin or neighbor to clean your house while you spend some much needed time with your friends or practicing a hobby that makes you feel good. If someone else can do the task, don’t be afraid to let go and hand it over to someone else. That way, you’ll have more time to do the things you’re truly passionate about. Choosing to focus on things you’re passionate about means that you’re not stuck churning out many (mediocre) projects half-heartedly, but instead allows you the time and energy to create fantastic projects that you can be proud of.
I recently took up yoga and now I can finally say: it’s worth the hype. Yoga is a fantastic way to destress and relax the mind, as well as get in a little workout (depending on which type you choose to practice). If you’re new to yoga, join a Hatha class or one that is specifically designed for beginners and feel your stress begin to melt away.
If you’re not into yoga, there are a number of other ways to practice mindfulness and meditation, such as downloading a meditation app like Headspace online. Even just taking up light walking or jogging can help improve your mood and concentration.
4. Start To Keep A Bullet Journal
Any type of journal will do the trick, but bullet journaling in particular will keep you organized and stress-free. While regular journaling is a fantastic way to express your emotions and get out some pent-up emotions you may be bottling in, bullet journaling is a way to get those creative juices flowing.
From calligraphy to drawing, to creating weekly, monthly and daily spreads, you’ll have your life organized and create a safe space for yourself to vent and create art on a daily basis. The key to journaling is to learn how to not judge yourself and to stop yourself from criticizing the quality of your pages. Remember, nobody ever has to see your journal. It’s your safe space for you and you only.
5. Make More Time For Friends
Life is all about relationships and connection, and if you don’t make enough time for this important priority, you’ll be left feeling burnt out and unfulfilled. You can have all the money in the world and the perfect career, but if you don’t have anyone to share it with it can get pretty lonely. Fast.
If you haven’t built an awesome squad of supportive friends yet, there are plenty of ways to meet new people. From joining a new class, to downloading apps for making friends like Hey! Vina and Bumble BFF, you’ll improve your chances of making new besties and expand your social circle.
6. Cultivate Some Personal Dreams/Goals
Whether you’d like to travel to Bali, study abroad in London, or start your own online hair care business, having some non-political goals and dreams will keep you afloat during those tough days. It’ll give you a sense of purpose and remind you what you’re doing and why.
Spending time focusing on the things you want out of life will help keep you on track and allow you to measure progress, as well as give you the motivation to focus on the important things in life.
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."