RELEASE & RESET, Your Mental Health Depends on it!

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

With the lazy days of summer far behind and the cool days of Fall ripping us, it is important to take moments to RELEASE & RESET.

This year more than any other time, checking in with ourselves has become a necessity. 2020 has been a year like no other in modern history. We have witnessed civil unrest, demands for equality and justice on a global scale, questions around individual rights vs the rights of the whole, devastating environmental catastrophes, economic hardship both individual and collective, the loss that goes beyond comprehension. Personally, I have experienced the death of a colleague, family member and my beloved dog, Felix.

The ongoing stressors seem unbearable for many.

Who could blame you for feeling #overwhelmed?

I am not a religious person, but deeply spiritual. Being raised in the Catholic faith, a few stories and common sayings have stuck. In recent days I have been reflecting on the common Christian sayings, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” I hear it often during difficult times. The concept of being strong during adversity is far too common and plagues me. It has forced me to take a step back and look at how I view strength and the expectations I put on myself.

As Black women, we are raised with the belief that we are meant to be mentally, emotionally, and physically strong. For many reasons, we do not have the luxury or, as we have learned, the “privilege” of weakness; because the world gives us very few breaks. We are expected to stay strong for our families, community as well as hold our men up while the world tries to tear them down.

The burden of strength is passed down through generations of women. My grandmother passed it down to her daughters, who passed it down to my cousins and me; as I have no children, the cycle has stopped, but I would undoubtedly have passed this belief system to my daughters.

It forced me to question what it means to be strong.

In the weeks that turned into months, quarantine forced me to examine this false sense of strength. With each personal and global calamity that unravelled, I felt my mental health waiver. Crying brought on by bad news and the general feeling of loneliness became a daily occurrence.

Fortunately, I have daily check-ins with my dear friend, Mike. A practice that began long before #COVID. These conversations range from banter about superhero movies, the barrage of shirtless joggers in our hoods summer past, to social unrest and the effects of overt and covert racism in our lives. Our conversations are candid, honest and full of vulnerability. They have been vital to my survival.

These aren't my burdens.

These talks have forced me to examine myself and the burdens I have carried. Many of which do not belong to me. The notion of nobly carrying the weight of the world on your back is one that I am happily unpacking. I #RELEASE the weight of living up to the expectations of unwavering strength and the image of being a strong Black woman. As I #RESET, I am learning to sit in place of human frailty and draw strength from a higher power.

Now, it seems to me like the only thing I need to exhibit strength for is resisting wine and chocolate.

What are you going to do to RELEASE the old and RESET for the new?

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