Self-care has been a term used in the wellness community for years. From spraying lavender on pillows before bed to opening the window for some fresh air or even getting a daily stretch in, we all could use a few of these moments in our day. Historically, People of Color have lacked accessibility to wellness spaces. Most recently, however, there has been an increase in wellness spaces for People of Color, which has ultimately assisted individuals to cultivate healthy coping skills when confronted with challenges. I think we can all agree that the need for self-care is crucial—especially given the current climate.
Engaging in self-care has helped me to realize how beneficial it is to develop and maintain a wellness routine. I enjoy a good cup of Peet’s dark roast coffee and having a few solo dance parties in my apartment (OK, maybe more than a few). These moments are not only great reminders to do things that bring me joy, but they also provide motivation to continue to seek out new ways to enhance my self-care and wellness routine.
We connected with 15 Women of Color to share their wellness secrets and favorite act of self-care to give a fresh perspective on how important wellness routines are during these times.
Shaina McGregor, Dancer and Fitness Creative
A wellness secret I have been really intentional about lately is finding a circle I feel comfortable sharing in; it’s truly empowering and uplifting to have friends that you can be vulnerable with. I recently joined a bible study filled with young, creative, and ambitious artists. It is SO lit and has become the highlight of my week. After the death of George Floyd, I joined a Black dancer group that meets weekly via zoom. We openly express how we are feeling, what we have experienced, and how we want to empower the next generation of young Black artists to feel supported.
One act of self-care I love is deep-conditioning my hair—carving out time to show love to my curls makes me SO happy.
Marjorie Albay, Mom of Triplets + Plants
As a mom of triplets, self-care is a non-negotiable. When there is balance between my mind, body, and soul, I am the best version of myself. Three simple ways I achieve overall health and wellness are:
- Sleep for my mind and body. I make it a priority to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. And on a really good night, I get about 10!
- Hydration. Water is the key to life. Every system in our body depends on it. I love adding chia seeds to my water/drink to prolong hydration.
- Cooking for my soul. When I cook or prepare colorful meals for my family, I provide nourishment. Food is love, and the love I give feeds my soul.
Monet Davis, Educator
A wellness secret I personally love integrating into my routine: going hiking, or just for a walk/jog/run. It is a great way to love yourself and also just get to know your neighborhood. Not only is it exercise, but also when you do it regularly, you may start to see the same people along your route(s) and can develop relationships with those in your community.
One of my favorite acts of self-care (I am sure I am not the only one) is lighting a candle! Candles for me provide a calm ambience to any room and a wonderful fragrance. Also, candle shopping is fun and you can be 100 percent selfish about what scent you like–who doesn’t love that?!
Tahnia Hawkins, Yoga Teacher + Founder of The Roots Studio
Most mornings, before my meditation, I do some gratitude journaling. This helps bring good feelings to the heart and it feels easier going into meditation knowing that I have so much to be grateful for.
I’m a firm believer that your outside environment is a reflection of your mental mind. I love to take time to organize my space.
My favorite act of self-care is practicing Yoga. OK, I’m biased with this one. I believe that any physical practice is great for taking care of YOU, however, yoga is personally an all in one. It creates space for you to take care of your mind, body, and spirit all at the same time. This is my ultimate secret weapon because it allows me to learn myself in new ways and take pride in a self-actualizing journey.
Allison Shimamoto, Founder + Creative Director of Oemi Botanicals
A wellness tip I generally adhere to is listening to my energy and knowing when to disconnect. The news, media, and everything going on right now is very stressful, especially as a Black woman in this environment. Some days I will completely disconnect from social media, or from anything that connects me to environmental stressors (I had to give up my AM news podcasts and tune in when I feel like I’m supported and ready to engage). This is a marathon of justice we’re on, so we need to be fulfilled and strong to win the race!
A favorite act of self-care for me would be using a diffuser. I use citrus and bright oils in the morning to energize, and lavender or eucalyptus at night to unwind.
To me, self-care is not only an act of taking care of your outward appearance, but also your inward wellbeing. For practices that care for my body, I love applying my favorite face mask: the Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay. I also implement a relaxing shower with essential oils into my self-care routine. For moments of reflection, I journal any thoughts and feelings that come into mind—I generally try not to censor myself while journaling as a form of therapy.
Jordan Branch, RN
Honestly, my self-care routine is ever-changing, and during these times I am finding it has been a bit of a struggle to be more intentional. One secret to self-care is finding what brings fulfillment and doing it often! It’s something I am always working to enhance.
Alexandria Martinez, RN and Creative
I love to read and journal as much as I can. One of my favorite journals has been from an author named Alex Elle. Her journal and guide, Today I Affirm: A Journal that Nurtures Self-Care, really centers me and allows me to acknowledge my feelings and put thoughts on paper of all the nuances that make me, me.
My self-care tip is to always have a good playlist on deck. Music fuels my soul, and no matter what mood I’m in, I have a playlist ready to get me in the best mental space possible. I also pray and have a strong connection to my faith. These things keep me grounded on a daily basis.
Natasha Marsh, Fashion and Grooming Editor
My parents have always believed less is more. Growing up, I never saw my mom spend more than five minutes on her face, so as I came up, I too never wore makeup or applied creams on my face. I think that credits to my skin—I’ve never tried to taint it in a way. I guess two things I would swear by are a gallon of water a day (this flushes out so many toxins and the hydration can prevent most breakouts), and Olay moisture (this is truly the only thing I wear daily. Some days it doubles as a sunscreen). When I’m looking for an extra dewy look, I’ll put on Supergoop sunscreen oil (I don’t know how, but it just like makes you so glowy), and when the bags under my eyes really come out, I’ll add a third layer to my face of my Tula Rose glow stick.
My favorite self-care act is anything related to fitness (yoga, running, dance, etc). Moving literally could change everything! I also take a 20-minute bath once a week. It’s not even really decompressing, I just love doing it.
Jordyn Smith, Creative
One of my favorite self-care feel-goods is really just spending time with myself and doing the things I absolutely love.
Whenever I am really anxious and can’t seem to get out of my mind, I’ve found that doing my makeup or doing my full skin care regimen distracts me from overthinking. Usually, I’m doing this while blasting Beyoncé. If it doesn’t make me sing at the top of my lungs and finger point when I’m really feeling it—I don’t want it. Whenever I’m saying affirmations, dancing, and hyping myself up, in that moment nothing matters besides how confident I’m feeling and that whatever is bothering me won’t break me down.
Sagine Joassin, SLP-CF and Meditation Enthusiast
I guess our misconception is always the idea of what self-care truly is and looks like. We often envision bath bombs, getting our nails done, or doing yoga, but it’s deeper than that. It requires a lot of work; and a lot nurturing to our soul, our wounded inner child, and our minds. Our wellness entails our outer body, but it also entails what is within.
Some of my favorite self-care and wellness tips are:
- Sage smudging (every Sunday to start off my week), and letting go of the negativity or regrets of last week and setting intentions for the next.
- Liberate Mediation App: Meditation for POC–this has been getting me through these times!
- FaceTime or zoom call with one or two friends a week! I encourage y’all to check in on your loved ones, and your strong friends and your family. Reconnect those bonds!
Ravenné Gillett, Affordable Housing Strategist
I have Hashimoto thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes my body to attack the thyroid gland. Having to be mindful of this, a wellness routine has become a priority for me. In the morning, in order to get my mind right for the day, I start by reading scripture. I also enjoy a cup of green tea (to coat my stomach) and to give me energy to start my day.
A favorite act of self-care would be spending time meditating/praying. I also really enjoy spending quality time with friends and cultivating meaningful relationships.
Alexus Jegede, Brand Strategist
It is easy to get so caught up with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we fail to have an awareness of how we’re doing spiritually, mentally, physically, etc. I am intentional about having self-checks in what I refer to as “heart checks.” This is a time for me to be alone, reflect, and journal my thoughts. During my heart checks, I’m real and honest with God and myself. My journal entries are letters to God. In my entries, I release what is on my heart, which gives me an enhanced sense of freedom and self-awareness.
A favorite self-care act of mine would definitely be surrounding myself with loved ones. It brings laughter, joy, and happiness to my life. I believe that laughter is good for the soul, and I have family, friends, and a fiancé that always keep a smile on my face. Having quality time with loved ones can be therapeutic.
Kayla Lawrence, Recruiting Coordinator and Content Creative
I have been trying to be more intentional with my time and pouring into my self-care routine. I love to do a 45 minute to an hour workout every morning—which sometimes is just a good stretch. During quarantine, I have been creative with using household items as weights (still wondering why I ever considered buying weights when a few books do the trick).
Lindsay Hill, Event Coordinator/Curator
One secret I have to maintain a balance with my overall wellness is to know I am not alone. As Women of Color, it is common to be working in environments where my co-workers don’t always look like me. I feel it is important to build community with other People of Color not only to express the feeling of isolation that could often creep up in those environments, but also to remember that I am supported.
A huge part of my self-care journey involves me watching my social media consumption. Although social media has allowed me to connect with others in ways like never before, it can at times lead to minor comparisons of the content people post. So, I really try to be intentional and follow accounts that instill positivity and motivate me—I love having the ability to unplug whenever I feel it is necessary.