Being a black woman is no easy task. Not only are we ostracized and sometimes shunned by our own men, those outside don’t even want us. We struggle in silence, weighed down by the stigma of black being bad, bogged down by the ridiculous “Strong Black Woman Syndrome” and so much more. We are not allowed to crack. Nor are we allowed to speak out when it’s too much. We must just take it.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that frustrates me more than having to bear under a stereotype that you just don’t live by. That’s like saying all white people are racist, or all Brazilians like walking around naked, or that the French are drunkards, or whatever. You get where I’m going with this.
It’s hard to live up to a stereotype. Well, at least for me it is.
And knowing that I don’t have to conform to what society believes I should conform to has helped me break free of this sad, corrosive mould and mentality that “black is not beautiful.” Shame on you for hating what God created.
Having said all that, we can be black women and be depressed and it DOESN’T have to be hard. How? Read on for 11 tips to help you succeed at this mental illness that just had to make an appearance in your life.
Ask for help
You’re not superwoman; give it up. It’s a strength, NOT a weakness to ask for help. The greatest leaders have advisors, presidents have advisors. So why shouldn’t you, Nubian Queen?
I hate to break it to you, but we’re still primitive. By this, I mean man has not evolved. Not physically, anyway. We still can’t read minds. Bummer, isn’t it? Until that day, you need to TALK and TELL people what’s wrong. They can only read body language up to a certain point.
Know your limits
As black people, limits do not exist in our vocabulary. The black community says if you can do it, do it. Even if you can’t do it, still do it. See the problem here?
When you can’t, you can’t. It’s not a sin against contrary belief (yes, I’m talking to you pastors and followers going at me about in Jesus’ name all things are possible). Even Jesus slept.
Take it a day at a time – even a second at a time
I have several days in the week where I literally don’t know if I’ll make it to the next hour. To illustrate, I used to suffer from beyond severe period pains. I’m talking about the kind of pains that left me sweating like the Indian Ocean had just become me, thrashing about and immobile. My prostaglandins were always the devil.
That all kinda, sorta changed when I realised I was magnesium deficient. Ever since then, the pain has reduced drastically. Not to say I don’t have pain, I do, but it’s just not as bad, thank you, Jesus. *Hallelujah!*
The point is, we’re all going through something, be it a physical ailment, stress at work or home or both, financial, social injustice or whatever.
Allow yourself time to breathe
I’m still learning to do this. Sometimes you literally need to
Not only is it good for your racing heart and pumping adrenalin, but it also helps you to get you bearings right. It also helps you to calm your heart and mouth and bite your tongue before you say something you may later regret.
The less important and perhaps not so urgent things can wait until the end of the day or tomorrow if possible. You might have to learn to prioritise like me. Writing blog posts is not as important as eating my meal so I can take my probiotics on time. Catch my drift? You can do this in a number of ways.
- Write down what needs to be done the night before.
- List the importance of things from 1 to 10.
- Allot the time needed to complete each task. See if any of the tasks can be given to others.
- Set the schedule and stick to it.
Easier said than done I know but with practice, anything is possible.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
Many hesitate to take this step for a number of reasons. You may think the job won’t be done as well. Or you may not have time to train someone else to do your job. Maybe you feel robbed of your job. Perhaps you may fear losing your job. Or even fear someone taking over completely, changing what you did. You may even fear losing control of the project.
If any of this sounds familiar, relax. It’s normal and very much part of human nature.
If you train people well to do your job, you have more time for things that are important, for example, picking up your kids from school, going to the gym, spending time in nature and going on holiday.
Prepare in advance
This tip ties in with prioritising and delegating.
You can’t rock up to your next day like, “So, what are we going to do?”
Once you have a feasible action plan, you can actually execute it. It makes yours and others’ lives much easier. You cut out all the fluff, stress and hassles that come with being a procrastinator or unprepared.
This one is a lifesaver. If I lived alone, I would ace this one like you don’t know.
Nowadays, YouTube is teeming with excellent advice, tips and videos on how-to meal prep. And the meal prepping caters to all sorts of people, working professionals, students, vegans etc.
You just need to see what’s right for you and your family. The best part? You can tweak what you learn to suit your budget and needs. Easy peasy.
Take deep breaths often
Again, I’m working on this one. I love breathing (I think we all do) but
You know that clogged up and stuffy feeling you have when your nose is blocked? How happy are you when you can FINALLY breathe without wheezing and nearly choking?
That’s the benefit of breathing properly. Your lungs and other organs get proper oxygen and your body functions as it should. Your heart rate settles down and a whole bunch of other good benefits happen which you can read up on here.
Anticipate problems and do what you can
This doesn’t mean imagining all the worst case scenarios that could happen. That doesn’t help anyone, not especially you. I’m talking realistically. If, for example, you need to be at work at 8 a.m., but you still need to drop off the kids by 7.45, and the weather forecast says it’s going to rain, what should you do?
Pack your kids’ bags and lunches the night before, and line them up on the counter if possible. Yours, too, of course. Make sure your outfits have been pressed the night before, and that the car keys are easy to find and breakfast is ready on the go. Wake up earlier so you don’t get stuck in traffic.
You see what we did there? We anticipated problems (getting stuck in traffic, slippery roads) and came up with solutions (prepare everyone’s things the night before, leave early) in order to combat them.
Forward thinking, my friends.
Do something you love every day
As the final pointer, you must not forget it. If you forget all else in the post, remember this one.
Even if it’s only for a few minutes. Am I right or am I right?
How’s that for 11 actionable and not so difficult tips to improve your depression? Have you tried any of these tips? Comment below.