A New Orleanian by birth and New Yorker by choice, Keturah Kendrick has been penning insights about life at the intersection of race and gender for a decade. Aside from her popular blog, Yet Another Single Gal, she has written for The Unfit Christian, The Not Mom, NonParents, and…
By GaBrilla Ballard Graphic by GaBrilla Ballard(Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved) As we support ourselves and each other in #flatteningthecure, I want to encourage you to fit in self-care. As many of you, I am home with my children, and it sometimes makes it harder…
By GaBrilla Ballard
I came on to offer words of support and love to you my growing community, as I’m sure you have been inundated with more news than you probably want. Some of you are very worried, as am I and some of you are holding together pretty, well. But it wouldn’t be me not come on and share some words with you hoping that they may help you during this stressful time.
The swiftness by which this virus has moved is mind boggling. It feels surreal and at time one’s mind can’t catch up to its speed. I’ve been charting this virus since China and starting “stocking” up when it hit Europe. Why you might ask? It is because I am one of the “vulnerable ones among us” who has a chronic illness, who is immunocompromised due to medication I take for Lupus. If you’re like me, any news of impending viruses is cause to pause and prepare. Washing hands, staying away from sick people, asking if anyone is sick before I go over or they come to visit has become a regular practice for me since my diagnosis. So has learning not to be driven by fear. To be informed. To be careful and to be self-advocating. I am afraid enough to do everything I can and leave the rest to the most high, because as I’ve learned years ago when I was very sick , that there are simply some things you can’t control.
Worrying won’t make things better nor will it change the outcome. That said, I want to offer you seven suggestions that might help you whether you live with a chronic illness or not. Stress is not good for anyone’s immune system.
For those of you who are do not live with a chronic illness or have a compromised immune system, keeping yourself healthy is the best way to keep everyone else healthy.
1- Wash you hands.
Been hearing all week. 20 seconds. I will also add use lotion too. I have washed my hands so much, they’re beginning to crack a little and bleed. No need for secondary infections.
2- Focus on what you can control
This has been by far my greatest life practice. An anxious mind has a tendency to focus on worse case scenarios that almost never happen. If that happens to you—as it might a lot right now, give your mind something to focus on—clean the dishes, sort some papers, organize that junk drawer, bringing order to something small can help to calm your mind and release some dopamine associated with feeling as a sense of accomplishment from all that organizing.
3- Breath deeply
Breath in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Release for a count of 4 and hold again for a count of four. Do as many rounds as you need to relax
4- Have fun and center joy in your life
A lot of us, myself included are going to be home with our kids. One of the things I promised myself was that I wasn’t going to panic and that I was going to have as much fun as I can with my kids. They said to socially distance yourself not to stay stuck inside. We have a basketball hoop outside our front door and lots of woods nearby. We will be getting outside, while staying away from crowds.
5- Get good sleep
When you struggle with anxiety, getting quality sleep can be one of the hardest things to get. I already struggle with insomnia, so times like these can make it harder to get my zz’s, but good quality sleep is vital whether you live with a chronic illness or not.
Before I go, I want to encourage you to stay calm as much as possible and to stay focused on what’s important to you. I find that worry doesn’t make me feel safer. It morphs into panic, which can be blinding, irrational and sometimes destructive. I have known deeply what fear does to my body. So, I move forward with the presence of mind that my body needs me to stay calm so that it can do everything in its power to keep me safe from all things that could harm me. I hope that you give your bodies the rest and care they need to do the same.
May this find you well. Peace.
dana e. fitchett, director of defDances, is a multi- and inter-disciplinary artist, movement educator, MFA candidate, and radical mixed-race Black woman exploring questions of identity reconciliation and decolonization by way of creative expression and reimagination of what’s possible. She lives in Oakland, CA, and splits…
(This post is the transcript for episode 2 from our current season. It can be heard here) By Gabrilla Ballard In the media, many of us have heard the story of Serena Williams advocating for herself following the birth of her daughter. A practice that…
Raised in the arms of New Orleans, Ayanna’s vibe is an eclectic mix of spoken word and Hip Hop. Her work is dedicated to uplifting women and using Hip Hop as a tool to teach young people. She has performed in venues across the country…New York (Nuyurican), Atlanta (Women Who Jam) and Houston (Blackout Arts Collective). Ayanna continues to do workshops to promote self-love and wellness for women of color. Her album, “Uplift Yo’ Self” is her first project, followed by “InteGRITTY: The Mixtape”. Affectionately known as “Mama Fiyah”, Ayanna uses her art as a tool for activism. As a published author, Ayanna wrote Run Away Girl to chronicle the journey to self-love. She wrote Keep it High: Thoughts in a New Light to tell the story after she found self-love.
Ayanna Molina earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of New Orleans in Psychology and English. She earned a Masters of Education degree in Community Counseling at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. Ayanna is also a member of the professional organizations, Counselors for Social Justice and the Association for Specialists in Group Work. Ayanna is designated as a Nationally Certified Counselor and holds a license in the state of Louisiana.
Ayanna supports children and adults experiencing grief and trauma, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Ayanna specializes in Play Therapy for children aged 3-13 years, self-esteem work for girls and women and grief/trauma counseling with people of African/Black decent.