Mental Fitness for the Black Girl

by Guest Blogger Srebrenica Benjamin

Mental health has recently been a hot topic of discussion in our community. Learning how to maintain a healthy mental balance is what we all need to stay on top of our game. Are you struggling with stress, overthinking, depression, anxiety, overwhelmed and not sure how to tackle it? Trust me, I’ve been there before so you’re not alone Queen!

First thing is to understand YOU are not alone. You relate to other women in more ways than you think. 

It’s okay to be vulnerable. As Black women we carry the idea of the “Strong Black Woman” so heavily that we tend to disallow ourselves to hurt, cry, and make mistakes openly. We’re typically expected to have things figured out. It is OKAY to not have all the answers and ask for help. 

Investing in a therapist is a great option however for those who are not ready for that kind of financial investment here are some lifestyle tips for being mentally fit: 

1. Meditation. This takes a lot of repetition and patience but trust it makes a difference. Take 10-15 minutes out of your day to find a quiet place to realign yourself. With our busy lives, we rarely make time for solidarity. Try a few breathing exercises and or light soothing music. 

2. Journal. Writing is therapeutic. Even for those who are not fans of writing. Writing is a way to express ourselves, placing our perspectives on paper. Try a 15-30 day gratitude challenge. In your journal, write at least 15 things you’re grateful for per day. Expressing gratitude relieves stress and allows us to appreciate where we are-gives us hope for even better things to come. 

3. Take a social media break. Social media can get tricky at times. It’s easy to get stuck in the hustle and bustle of keeping up with the latest talk. Stepping away for a bit brings us back to our own reality and stops us from forgetting to live our own lives. (PS, you don’t really have to announce you’re taking a break, just do it )

4. Read. Head to your local library or subscribe to a newsletter/magazine that interests you. You learn a lot about yourself when you explore different genres. 

5. Color/Paint. Adult coloring books are amazing! Grab a book and some coloring utensils and let the magic happen!

6. Talk with your support group. Building a support group is essential to mental health. Everyone appreciates being checked on every now and then and the opportunity for their voice to be heard. Appreciate the genuine individuals in your life!

7. Try something new! Exploring is always fun. Step out of your comfort zone- sometimes we need something to shake us up to get back in the groove. Try a new lipstick color, try a different food, take up a new hobby. 

8. Laugh! Laughter lightens the heart

9. Be present. Take in the moment you are in. Observe your environment. Acknowledge how you are feeling at the moment. Being present allows our minds to not quickly jump from one thought to another. 

10. Dedicate time for yourself. Family, work, and other obligations can really get the best of us. It is okay to be adamant about your “Me Time”. Whether it’s something from this list or something you enjoy, make sure time is routinely set aside for YOU!

These are just a few ways in which I personally keep my mental intact. Everyday is not perfect, however these list of options I refer back to when I feel myself in a rut and not feeling myself. 

Through each of these tips and even more, we are all on a continuous self growth journey. Remembering that it’s okay to put ourselves first. Mental health matters. 

Thank you for reading. What are some things you do personally to be mentally fit?

What will you start today to protect your mental health?

 Srebrenica Lejla is the founder of The Lively Creative, a movement to empower and inspire women to discover their creative abilities and develop a true to self lifestyle.  A Cleveland Native, Srebrenica enjoys traveling and exploring the fun gems Cleveland has to offer-especially food spots! Follow Srebrinica on Instagram.