Updated: Aug 17, 2020
The unfortunate reality in America is that Black people are being killed at an alarmingly high rate by police. For as long as police violence rages it is easy to become numb as news stations continue to report on the same sorts of traumatic realities. Not only is there initial trauma, and maybe residual trauma, there is also relived trauma when the court date comes for the perpetrators. Unfortunately, many times the perpetrator gets off with a minimal punishment, resulting in internalized pain and confusion.
Anger and heartbreak surface when the trauma of police violence is experienced. It is incredibly important to take time to pause, to acknowledge your feelings and to take care of yourself.
Finding coping strategies is vital to your overall wellbeing. While we have previously mentioned many of these strategies as self-care tools, self-care and coping go hand in hand. Healthy coping strategies are a vital part of your well-being. Below you will find some ideas for managing turbulent emotions.
Eat, Sleep and Move
Sometimes life is so busy we forget about our most basic and primal needs. When you are feeling low, coping begins. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Would a walk shift your energy? In the hustle and bustle of life it might be necessary to set a reminder on your phone or computer so you can properly nourish yourself everyday. Drinking water is a simple way to properly fuel your body and it is easy to under hydrate.
Sleep helps you to recoup and recharge. A recharge is a soul requirement. An ample amount of sleep is guaranteed to improve your overall wellbeing, and will also boost your immune system.
The aforementioned matched with movement is essential for your wellbeing. Movement alleviates stress and depressive symptoms, promoting mental health. 45 minutes a day, five days a week is ideal, and the best way to test this idea is to get moving.
Feel Your Feelings
You have the right to feel and healthily express your emotions. Exhaustion, anger, sadness, and grief are your right. Bottled up emotions are unhealthy. Do you have a trusted friend or therapist you can openly share with? It is important to authentically share with someone who has a genuine interest in your wellbeing. Your anger can serve as a tool for change, but you must first navigate through your turbulent emotions. When anger surfaces it can represent what you value and help you move towards action. You have the power to turn action to anger.
Breath has the power to ground you and move you from a state of fight or flight to a state of rest and digest. Moving back to the more rational part of your mind will help you to more easily turn anger to action. Overwhelm can feel immobilizing, but your breath can help you find ease in moments of tension.
Find Your Tribe
Protect your peace. The internet is full of trolls, uninformed people, and unfortunately many of us are finding out that our family and friends are quite ignorant. You do not have to engage in exhausting conversation, and limiting these sorts of interactions will help you protect your peace.
Surround yourself with people who love you and lift you up. You are not alone in your suffering and having people in your life who can relate, will give you space to grieve.
Take a Break From the News
Overconsumption of news will take a toll on your mental health. Ruminating over news and social media for hours will most certainly take a toll on you and prevent you from actually being able to help others. Set yourself a schedule for news and social media, and honor your time.
Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal. By writing in a journal you can manage your thoughts, feelings and reactions to racial injustices. Organizing your thoughts can make it easier for you to help others and show up in productive ways. Ruminating on your thoughts can be detrimental to your mental health, and amplify your worry, but journaling will help you manage your emotions.
Introspection + Meditation
Important questions to ponder include what is it I need to know, and what about this is upsetting me? Meditating is moving inward and the benefits of meditation include cultivating clarity. The answers do not always come right away but a consistent meditation practice will prove to be beneficial.
There is no better time to prioritize your healing.