The same day we celebrated the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, we had to learn of the murder of Ma’Khia Bryant. Ma’Khia was a bright 16 year old young girl who called the police for help. She was in a state of distress and had a knife-some reports say she was defending herself in an altercation. Upon arrival, police shot her four times.
All facts and details surrounding the incident have not been released as the investigation is ongoing, but you can expect to see video footage circling social media and news outlet.
As a culture, we are facing a lot of pain right now. The loss of DMX and Black Rob after both fought for their lives in hospitals, the brief exhale as we learned of the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, followed by us holding our breaths with tears in our eyes for Ma’Khia Bryant and the many others who lost their lives to police recently. Not to mention, the challenges we are each facing in our day to day lives.
There’s a weight on our shoulders that gets heavier as we take in more information, especially if you don’t have the tools to assist in carrying the load.
Here are a few of the tools that I use to protect my mental health and strengthen myself when I’m feeling the full weight of the world:
- Focus on what you CAN control: You can’t control everything and trying to will leave you feeling burned out. Focus on factors that you can control, like your actions and reactions.
- Read your news instead of watching or listening. This allows you to take in the facts without adopting the emotions, opinions or tone of others.
- Unplug. Give yourself time away from social media and news channels. I recommend setting time windows where you aren’t taking in information. For example, give yourself an hour or two each morning when you wake and each night before bed where you are free from social media and news. Allow yourself to be in a place of calm so that you can process information you already have without excess “noise”.
- Don’t be ashamed of unplugging
- Be intentional with your time and attention. If you want to spend time on social media and watching the news, be intentional. Ask yourself:
- What do I want to learn?
- How can I use this information?
- Is this making me feel anxious, depressed, or hopeless?
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty glass. There’s much to be done, but you have to be able to strengthen yourself first. Protect your mental health as best you can and glow forward.