5 ways to Keep Calm and Carry On
During times of national unrest, and racial divide, it's important to keep things in perspective. As much as I want to support and advocate for those who are targeted by society, I can't stress myself by taking the weight of all worries on my shoulders. This past summer, whenever a tragedy occurred directly affecting the African American community, I felt a heavy burden that wore me down. When Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were murdered, I didn't sleep well for days. Even more, I felt distraught that some people didn't feel as heartbroken as I was about the situation. Now that the number of hate crimes have increased in the U.S., I feel even more ostracized by the country I currently call home. But I'm not surprised by these events and despite everything, we have to continue to live together in peace.
In order to maintain your sanity, here are my tips on how to keep calm and carry on:
1. Be present in your immediate community
You cannot adequately support everyone in need and advocate for every movement. We will all be of more use if we focus our energy on supporting our immediate community. Be an ally to the minorities, undocumented individuals, women, and Muslims in your area. Find ways to promote unity and build a stronger bond between those who have similar or dissimilar opinions on sensitive issues. If we all do our part, then we can make America a more welcoming place for everyone.
2. Live unapologetically
Live your life unapologetically! Why force yourself into a box, or play the limiting role given to you? Stop shrinking yourself to fit into a society that does not acknowledge the role you play in the country as a whole. Live boldly, listen to your music loudly, dress expressively, surround yourself with people that you love. For me, this means I choose to be a proud black female immigrant, without apology. I will not wait for society to validate me and my culture.
3. Educate yourself
Don't rely on the media, social media, friends/family or public speakers to educate you. Take the initiative and find information for yourself before you internalize the opinions of others. Everyone has a bias when sharing information. I find myself bombarded with constant opinion statements that it's hard to know what I even believe. The best way to combat that it to read books from different perspectives that expose you to new ideas.
4. Create financial stability
It's important to build financial stability in case of emergencies. Don't let yourself be in a situation where you're in need of money but cannot support yourself or a loved one. Get into the habit of saving a little bit every month and soon you will be in a better financial position.
5. Prioritize self-care
After this emotional summer and now this current administrative office, it's imperative that you carve out time to take care of yourself. Cut off social media if you have to, listen to your favorite songs, talk to your close friends and family. Treat yourself once in a while and don't feel guilty for shutting out the bullshit once in a while in order to get yourself together. Make wise decisions and stay safe my loves.