Just wanted to check in with you
June 7, 2020
Hey, Many Ethnicities friends and folks:
I wanted to send this newsletter to check in and see how you all are doing.
It has been a strange, fearful, angry, uncertain time in our lives and history, with old and ongoing prejudices and pain, and new challenges and tragedies.
We have experienced so much shared trauma and mourning. How do we deal with it ourselves, let alone the trauma our kids are experiencing? They react strongly to our emotions, and have little understanding on how to deal with their own new negative emotions.
My oldest daughter shared with me she had a nightmare where something terrible had happened to me at the hands of law enforcement. We all need to channel that fear and frustration and anger and grief to keep mentally and physically well, for our children and ourselves.
Make sure you don’t ignore warning signs that you need help. Trauma and stress and grief can affect your entire body, with physical symptoms of headache, fatigue, stomach upset, insomnia, muscle aches and pains.
Severe anxiety causes physical symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, shaking, sweating, and even chest pain. Anxiety is the most common cause of chronic hair loss as well. Signs of severe depression include lack of appetite and motivation, severely low energy, and tiredness, sometimes to the point where you can’t get out of bed mean you need to contact a health care professional. See great resources to turn to if you need that help at the end of this text.
Limit your news consumption:Get away from social media and news. Constant media consumption of the traumatic events and continuous reading of negative posts and comments can combine to contribute to poor mental health. Take a break and do something else. Limit your time on media daily, and consider setting an alarm to help you keep track of time.
Use your community:Talk to people and reach out, because everyone needs a good support system. If you live alone, this is a very isolating time. Use meeting apps to be with groups of friends so you are looking at each other as well as talking. It just takes a little practice and so many of these are free, like Zoom and Skype.
Stay fit: Keep yourself physically well. Exercise daily, which can be a simple as taking a walk outside. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and avoid the slide into “comfort food.”
Sleep! Get enough sleep, 7 to 9 hours a night. Avoid self-destructive behavior such as abusing alcohol and drugs. Perform some simple relaxation exercises, or just lie still while listening to relaxing music. Practice good self care, and that includes hair care, skin care, dressing up, and making videos – all the little things that make us feel good about ourselves.
Keep a routine: Maintain a routine at home by establishing solid wake up and bedtimes, meal times, and family time. Focus on the things you personally can control, let go of the things you can’t, especially the negative noise. Focus your thoughts on the things you are grateful for. Look to your own personal beliefs and faith for support.
Focus your feelings: Channel your anger and frustration and grief in a positive way. A lot of us feel guilty as we are not sure what to do or feel, that we don’t have the right to be involved, because we personally have not experienced violent racism or abuse at the hands of others. Let go of that, let go of guilt and get involved.
Get involved positively: Activism is not just protesting, but donating to organizations that can help, on a local as well as national level. Activism is VOTING. If you protest, do so safely, continuing to protect yourself and others with masks, hygiene, and social distancing. See our social sites for a list of fantastic organizations that need your help.
Be there for your kids: Talk to your children, help them process their feelings, read books together that will help them to understand things with words directed to them. Spend time with them, tell them how much you love them, reassure them that they, and you, are safe, and ways to continue to be safe together.
Again, see our social for a list of books that deal with racism, and prejudice, but also pride in yourself and your community as well.
During this month of celebrating love in all its forms with Loving Day next week, and Pride Month, as we find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty and worry, we need to unite to heal and make positive change. Let’s recognize that there is still much work to be done.
Look to our social media (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) next week for a special event to celebrate Loving Day.
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Mental health resources:
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://nami.org/Home
NAMI African-American resources: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Diverse-Communities/African-American-Mental-Health
Therapy for Black girls: https://therapyforblackgirls.com
American Academy of child and adolescent psychiatry:https://www.aacap.org//
- Dr. Ena Hennegan is a board-certified family practice physician, and the founder and CEO of Three Daughters of the Doctor, makers of Many Ethnicities hair care products.