Self-Care Tips From One ‘Strong Friend’ To Another

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When was the last time you checked on your “strong friend”?

This call to action that has popped up as memes all over social media, couldn’t be truer than ever.

Working, taking care of family, going to school and other added stressors can break down anyone, but the bruises from a fall can be worse for some more than others.

As a journalist, the beauty of this profession is that every day is different. We deal with different breaking news, different cases and different people every single day.

Yet, once we lay our heads on our pillows at night, we are expected to simply forget about what happened that day and prepare our minds for the next assignment without reflecting on what the hell happened previously.

For me, moving on to the next is not always easy.

Don’t get me wrong, outside of work I do a lot of volunteer work, hanging out with friends, traveling (mostly alone), spend time with family and dibbling with hobbies.

But, some days, it’s hard to simply forget about seeing a dead body, hearing the testimony of a rape from the mouth of a brave survivor or forgiving yourself for becoming invasive during a heartbroken family’s moment of grief.

But, those elements are all parts of the gig. It comes with the territory.

Recently, my attempts to move on has become “one of those hard days” more often than usual. Cue Monica’s breakout hit “Just One of Those Days.”

I find myself laying in bed for hours, not eating the recommended amount of meals for days, having the television on and not even watching, ignoring calls and text, putting off cleaning and worse of all overthinking that no one gives a damn about my existence.

Problem is, the masquerade of social media gives our “friends” and “followers” that actually know you in real life the impression that once you post something or like a status: you’re good. Wrong!

Albeit, I’m definitely guilty of falling for the smoke and mirrors too.

So when I don’t get a “hey I’m just checking on you” call or text from friends or family I have learned some techniques to prevent myself from landing into deeper forms of depression.

1) Get out of the bed —Consciously forcing myself out of bed is a big deal — coupled with taking a shower and changing out of my night clothes.

2) Leav the house — Even if it’s to walk through Target where, I think, the store’s vibe sends subliminal messages to customers telling them they need to make a purchase even though they don’t need that item.

3) Text a friend — There’s something about initiating a conversation even if it’s about nothing that gives me a jolt of positive energy — mostly a good laugh.

4) Pick up a book even if you read it already —Flipping through a good novel or a how-to book motivates the mind to focus on something else — not the negative that consumes you.

5) Self-grooming — Doing your nails, taking a bath, styling your hair, workout, pluck your eyebrows, etc. These are some things you can do to lift your spirits and feel good that you did this for yourself.

Bonus: Cry — I’m still struggling with this, but I have been told by my supporters that it is okay to cry. It’s not a necessity, but if you feel the need to, then ball your eyes out.

No one said being the strong person in everyone else’s life is easy, but trust me it’s okay to acknowledge when you’re in a bad place.

Most importantly, if you can afford to go to a therapist, DO IT!

According to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, of the over 230,000 participants, 4% of African-Americans suffer from major depression, but not all seek help.

At the end of the day, (I don’t care for that saying but it works here) you were born alone and you will die alone — you are all you have.

Take time for you.

Five self-care tips for the strong friend. Coping when no one understands.
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