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Prioritizing Mental Health for BIPOC Women: 5 Tips to Protect Your Inner Peace

It's time to talk about mental health for BIPOC women.


Being a BIPOC woman is an incredible strength. We experience discrimination, microaggressions, and unrealistic expectations -- they can all take a toll on our mental well-being. That's why prioritizing mental health isn't a sign of weakness – it's necessary for us to thrive.


1. Recognizing Burnout


We are strong, but even superwoman can reach her limits. And you know what? It's okay! When we are out in the world juggling all these responsibilities, it can get overwhelming and stressful. Please don't wait for it to reach a tipping point! We should address it as soon as possible because the adverse effects can bleed into other aspects of our lives - including our professional ones.


How do we know if we're at a breaking point?


Burnout Signs:

- Extreme fatigue: Feeling constantly drained and low on energy

- Achy muscles

- Headaches that won't go away

- Prolonged insomnia

- Getting sick a lot

If you've been checking all the boxes above, maybe it's time to take a beat and breathe, queen. These are your body's way of saying, "Slow down."


When I say breathe, I mean to breathe, literally.


1. Double Inhale (4 seconds): Breathe deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air. At the end of the first inhale, sneak extra air through your nose

2. Hold (7 seconds): Hold the breath in your lungs for a count of seven.

3. Exhale Slowly (8 seconds): Release the air slowly and completely through your mouth.

4. Repeat (8-9 times)


What else can you do to destress?


  • Identify Stressors: What specific situations or tasks are causing the most stress? Can you delegate, eliminate, or streamline some of them?

  • Set Boundaries: Learn to say "no" to requests that drain your energy. It's okay to prioritize your well-being.

  • Move Your Body: Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Find a physical activity you enjoy, whether hiking, a yoga sesh, or a brisk walk.

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Focus on the presence without judgment.


On top of relieving stress, mindfulness exercise is also beneficial for depression and anxiety.


So, guess what we will be discussing in detail next?


2. Practicing Mindfulness

You know it!


Mindfulness is all about observing your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without getting swept away.


Mental Health for BIPOC Women: two women sitting on a yoga mat on the beach meditating

When we talk about mindfulness exercises, it doesn't always mean closing your eyes and sitting in a cross-legged pose. You can do them anywhere. Whether you're just waking up, working in the office, or walking your pup, each moment presents an opportunity to be more present.


Think about these questions...


What are your three senses (touch, sight, sound) experiencing?

  • Focus on the birds chirping out your windows, the morning beams seeping through the windows, the sensation of your feet touching the grass, or the raindrops falling on your skin.


What are your physical sensations?


What's your breathing pattern like?

Close your eyes gently (or soften your gaze if keeping them closed is uncomfortable). Notice the feeling of your breath entering and leaving your nostrils.


It is okay if your mind wanders or if you get distracted. Gently acknowledge it and guide your focus back to the breath without being hard on yourself. Continue these practices throughout your day, either for a set duration or as you go about your routine!


3. Building a Safe Space: Creating a Support System for BIPOC Women & Girls



Having a personal cheer squad can make a world of difference. We are all confident queens. But remember that one time when nerves and self-doubt crept in before a big presentation? A simple call with a close friend or a text message from your group chat can help keep us grounded and remind us of our capabilities!


Life throws curveballs. Besides being this voice of reason, a network of friends acts as a buffer when challenges and setbacks hit. They can help us navigate tough times and emerge even stronger.


How do we form and nurture these friendships? You may ask.


As Velera Wilson eloquently puts it in "The Power of a Tribe," vulnerability is key. Don't be afraid to open up about your challenges. Sharing your struggles can not only be cathartic for you, but it can also inspire and uplift those around you! When we share our vulnerabilities, we create a space for others to do the same, cultivating deeper connections and a stronger support system.


With the backing of our tribe, we're better equipped to navigate life's inevitable trials!


4. Finding a Therapist Who Understands You


Who is currently in therapy?

  • Yes, I've been going for years now!

  • Yep, just started!

  • No


While your lovely friends and family support is invaluable, professional help is still needed! However, BIPOC women always have to jump through lots of hoops when seeking therapy - stigmas, unconscious bias, and the challenge of finding a therapist who truly understands their cultural background.


The mental health field has traditionally been predominantly white, and unconscious bias can exist. This can lead to feelings of invalidation, isolation, or a lack of connection with a therapist who doesn't fully grasp your cultural background. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) found in a 2018 study that 60% of Black Canadians surveyed expressed a greater willingness to seek mental health care if the provider shared their racial background.


Resources:

BIPOC Therapist Canada  - This directory allows you to search for BIPOC therapists by location, certification, and areas of focus.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - While US-based, NAMI offers resources for finding therapists by location and insurance, which can help navigate the Canadian system.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) - Offers resources and support groups across Canada. You can find your local CMHA branch on their website.

Black Mental Health Alliance Canada - Focuses on supporting the mental health needs of Black Canadians and their families.

Suicide Crisis Helpline - Call or Text 9-8-8 (available 24/7 across Canada).

Hope for Wellness Help Line—For emotional support, crisis intervention, or referrals to community-based services, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples can call the toll-free 1-855-242-3310, available 24/7.

5. Prioritizing Self-Care & "Me Time" can Help with Mental Health for BIPOC women



In our busy, fast-paced world, self-care can feel like a distant dream, especially for BIPOC women who often shoulder a disproportionate amount of responsibility.


But here's the truth: self-care isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Whether it is enjoying bourbon in a bubble bath, watching trashy reality TV shows, dancing wildly in your living room, or touching grass in nature -- you need them. It's about actively nourishing your mind, body, and spirit to create a foundation for inner peace and mental wellness.


Remember: Self-care is a journey, not a destination. Be kind to yourself. Find what works for you and create a self-care routine that fits seamlessly into your life.


By making your inner peace a priority, you'll be better prepared to overcome challenges and thrive in every aspect of your life!


You go, queen!


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