It’s been a rough past couple of days and weeks. On Monday, a viral video showed a white Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd, and killing him, while Floyd cried out repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and three other police officers just looked on.
Also, on Monday, a viral video showed a white woman, Amy Cooper, trying to weaponize the police against a black man, Christian Cooper, who simply asked her to follow the law and leash her dog in New York’s Central Park. I can only imagine what the police might have done to Christian Cooper had he not had that recording.
And three weeks ago, a viral video showed two white men, Gregory and Travis McMichael, stalking and killing a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, who was out jogging – and the killers were not arrested for months later.
Also in May, we learned that months earlier, Kentucky police raided the wrong house for a man who was already in police custody and killed a black woman, Breeona Taylor, in a hail of 20 bullets.
And all of this has happened during an already stressful pandemic, in which Black people are getting and dying from the virus in the highest numbers.
But since the callous police killing of Floyd on Monday, my blood pressure has been sky high with rage. It was hard to even get myself together to write this post today.
But I know that many of you have been feeling the same way. And I know that the stress we experience from this systemic white supremacy has very real consequences. It can result in oxidative stress – or premature rusting of the cells – which can raise our risks for chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancers, and lead to earlier deaths.
So that’s why practicing self-care on a daily basis is so important, especially in times like these. I have 7 rituals that I strive to do every day to help me stay centered.
MY 7 DAILY SELF-CARE PRACTICES:
- JOURNAL – In the mornings while I’m still in bed, i write down how I’m feeling, any dreams I had from the night before, and what my intentions are for the day. Writing is my first love, so journaling also helps me to do what I love every day.
- DO YOGA – I do a series of 12 sun salutations when I get out of bed, as a way to gently wake up my body and greet the day.
- MEDITATE – After yoga, I sit for at least 20 minutes to quiet my mind and be centered. I do this before I look at my phone or go online so I can be in a peaceful state when I start engaging with other people and the world.
- EXERCISE – At some point during the day, I go for a brisk, long walk, or dance for about 30 minutes to an hour to my favorite music, or do an online exercise class.
- EAT WELL – No surprise here. 🙂 I eat a whole food vegan diet.
- BE GRATEFUL – At night, I take out my journal again and write down at least 5 things I’m grateful for – things that happened during the day, or things I’m grateful for, in general.
- SLEEP WELL – I’ve come to understand just how important it is for my health and well-being to make sure I get enough rest each night, so I make it a habit to be in bed at the same time each night and get 7-8 hours of sleep.
Doing these 7 daily rituals makes me feel like my absolute best self. Calm, joyful and free. But there are times when I hit slumps that I let them fall by the wayside for a while. But I know when I start again, they bring me back into my natural flow immediately. It never fails.
So, that’s what I do. What about you? What self-care rituals do you practice that keep you centered? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
And if you haven’t already, I also urge you to take action for Floyd, Arbery, and Taylor by going to ColorofChange.org (or another resource) to demand arrests, charges, and more. Fighting injustice is a part of self-care, too.