One Day At A time

In the African American community, there are many people that misunderstand mental health conditions and wont talk about this topic. The lack of knowledge leads many to believe that it is somehow a personal weakness or some sort of punishment from God. In turn, many of us, especially women, are reluctant to discuss mental health issues and seek treatment because of the shame and stigma associated with these conditions. Some think that depression is the just “the blues’ or something to snap out of. We are told to “pray” the troubles away or to be “strong” as if emotions should be kept hidden. Instead of being taught to “muscle” your way through feelings of depression and anxiety, what is really best is to sort what you’re going through and find support/treatment options. Make mental health your priority. Part of the challenge in getting care is the cultural belief that only people who are “crazy” or “weak” see mental health professionals. On the contrary, attending to your own needs, whether physical or emotional, doesn’t make you weak, it enables you to handle care for yourself and loved ones in the long run. Some signs of depression and mood disorders:

Sleeping more or less than usual

Increased or decreased appetite

Feeling worthless, hopeless, or empty

Feeling disinterested and unable to enjoy things that usually bring pleasure

Mood swings

Feeling out of control

Difficulty concentrating

There’s no replacement for the help that you can get from a mental health professional. But, you can also safeguard your emotional health through these self-care practices:

Get good rest. Aim for at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can really shift your mood

Move more. Exercise for better health and a boost of feel-good endorphins that can help some people manage or prevent depression symptoms.

Eat well. A mix of fruits, vegetables and protein keeps your energy levels steady.

Connect. Schedule time with a friend every week, even for a walk or cup of tea. Social support improves mental well-being, helping you better manage the ups and downs of your day.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain.

Know your limits. As much as possible, decline requests that create unnecessary stress. Set healthy boundaries that can help reduce stress

Author:

Be yourself. There is no one better.

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