This is it. We are here. While most of us walked into 2020 with our heads held high, prepared to take on the new year with not so original resolutions, create new brands and businesses, birth new babies, and enter into blossoming new unions, 2020 jolted us out of our fantasies and hit us all with some cold hard truths about our world. We learned that our definition of “normal” can change in a split second. Our security and freedoms could be taken away from us by our government. Our health could be compromised by simply congregating in public spaces with loved ones. As Black people, we were painfully reminded that our bodies could be killed and those who murdered us would be allowed to walk free without punishment.
But we fought back. Social media showed us the power of innovation. Conferences became virtual and we found community with strangers through motivational Instagram posts and captions. Most importantly, the world came together to ensure the arrests and hopeful prosecution of murderous cops that have taken the lives of our people for just…being.
Say their names.
At least eleven protestors have been reported to also have lost their lives during protests that demand a stop be put to violent police force and discrimintation towards African Americans. We have yelled loudly through social media. We have demanded large corporate companies to use their voices and their dollars to put a stop to the supporting of an unjust system. We have asked our White allies to step up. SAY SOMETHING.
We have also championed for individuals to protect their mental health during this unfortunate time. What do you do when you just don’t know what to do? For some of us, social media has been an extreme trigger. Waking up in the morning has become difficult. Logging in to our platforms, we are bombarded with injustice, murder, sickness, fear, and worry. Each person seems to have a different solution and none of them have proved to be long standing.
We as a people have become conflicted. If I remain quiet, will I be seen as an individual that does not support Black lives, even if I am Black? In this age of social media, your voice is being requested to protest but your mental health should also be of concern. How do you avoid becoming over anxious, depressed, and in trying to use your voice, avoid becoming completely burned out and overwhelmed from our human tragedy?
5 Ways To Avoid Burnout During A Global Pandemic
- Release The Guilt Of Unplugging
Because social media has become the main news source for many millennials, we tend to flock to the internet pages of our favorite mom bloggers, advocates, and experts to find out important information. The social pressure to share our views can feel like an enormous weight placed upon us. During this time, find a way to unplug. Set alarms on your phone that alert you when you have been online for too long or if it helps, temporarily delete apps on your phone like Facebook and Instagram. There is no requirement to be online right now and just for mental practice, find a day where you commit to making Facetime phone calls, sending text messages, and actually engaging with other people to communicate versus posting, liking, and viewing the thoughts of others. Even 24 hours of unplugging can do wonders for your mental health.
2. Social Distancing Does Not Mean Self Isolation
With over 20 million cases of COVID-19 being reported worldwide, many of us initially locked ourselves away in our homes to avoid becoming infected with the invisible virus. With reports stating that COVID-19 could be transferred through face to face conversations, live on surfaces for days at a time, and travel in the air, we remained in doors in hopes of protecting ourselves and loved ones. Those who did venture outdoors, even with face masks, were ostracized. Who determines what is considered an essential trip to the grocery store or a walk in the park? In fact, an alarming spike in domestic violence cases and child abuse were reported. Around the city, posters for suicide hotlines were placed on flagpoles and in train stations. Humankind was not doing well with self isolation.
Social distancing is a set of actions taken to stop or slow the spread of a highly contagious disease. We have been admonished to stay at least six feet apart of others in public areas. Public parks and beaches were closed. Restaurants and none essential businesses were shut down. The truth is though, we need fresh air. We need some level of social interaction. Instead of locking yourself indoors, take a walk and get some fresh air. Lay outside in your yard and feel the earth. Call up a friend and share a meal over a video call. We need each other, especially during this time.
3. Find A Balance Between Work And Rest
If you are social entrepreneur, you have probably felt the anxiety to work on a new project during this time. Content creators, authors, public figures, and even self help guides have told us that if we do not come out of quarantine with five new businesses, somehow there must be something wrong with us to not be able to figure it out. While coming up with new streams of income is not an easy task in general, trying to become the next Beyonce’ during a worldwide traumatic event is even harder. Our bodies and minds are being affected by trauma and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you cannot find a way to create during this time. Take the time to rest. Have days where all you do is sleep and try to release the guilt of unproductivity.
4. Being An Ally And Supporting Comes In Many Forms
There are some people who are using their public platforms to protest. There are men, women, and children on the frontlines at protest. We have individuals who are using their wallets to put action behind their voices. There is no solitary right way to protest or stand up for a cause.
Over the last few days, White allies have stepped up to support Black creators and businesses by sharing their social media platforms to their followers but take your action past online. Find a Black organization and purchases from them. Ask, what can I do to be of support? If you are driving down the street and see a person of color being pulled over by the police, stop and wait for the traffic stop to end safely. Your presence could save a life. Become self aware of subconscious cues that make you pause before working with or shopping with a person of color. Becoming an ally or offering support will go past this protest and into your lives forever. Do the self work that goes beyond social media.
5. Find Someone To Talk To
Burnout can also occur from not having a proper space to release your thoughts and emotions. Before calling a friend for this, check in with them first. Ask them if they are able to take on the weight of the conversation before proceeding. If what you feel is heavier than a friendly conversation, consider contacting a therapist or counselor. During the impact of COVID-19, many mental health professionals have moved their services virtual for easy access to those across the globe.
Mamas, don’t worry if there are screaming children in the background. We are all home and have to make the best with the space that we have. If you need a listening ear, just make the call or set up an appointment. Use the bathroom, the closet, or sit anywhere in your home to have a session. There is no right way to do counseling as long as you do it when you need it.
Ultimately during this global pandemic, we have to find a way to get through this – together. This is not sick verus the unsick or White versus Black. This is humankind fighting for survival. This is everyone verus racism.
What are some ways you are practicing self care to avoid burnout during this time?