Prioritizing a Wellness Mindset

August is almost over but wellness doesn’t stop here. Wellness is a process of striving for a balance in all aspects of your life. It’s a marathon, not a race.

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However, before wrapping up this month we wanted to discuss the barriers to wellness, especially for those in large cities and people of color. While the month promotes wellness, it’s important to also acknowledge access to healthier options or even safe places to go for a run sometimes just isn’t there in Detroit and many other large cities. Add on the difficulty to access adequate health care to see health professionals for physical and mental health and you start to check your privilege.

There’s a reason why the thought of going to an aesthetician or dermatologist for skin help has a stigma of luxury or as we like to say, ‘you got monieeeee’.

Having the ability to eat well, routinely exercise, enjoy therapy and have access to regular care shouldn’t feel like a luxury; however, the truth is that as people of color there are real systemic barriers and it can be more practical and easier to prioritize survival in a world that inflicts violence in the form of environmental and social abuse on our bodies regularly.

I mean having the energy after going up against time-sucking public transportation systems, searching for steady sources of produce or healthy food, more likely working a labor intensive job, AND managing micro-aggressions is so exhausting. Who has time to manage self-care?

However, we wouldn’t be being all the way real if we didn’t say it’s also about shifting our mindset. It’s true resources and access to food and self-care is limited but if intentional we can find other ways incorporate options to improve your wellbeing daily for little to nothing…if you’re willing to be resourceful.

It’s the little things we can do to remind ourselves that we are worthy of care. It’s protection and re-enforcement against some of the crappy experiences people of color may endure on the daily.

It doesn’t mean disregard the systemic issues at play, it means that as a part of survival we must carve out some space for ourselves; Wellness is a commitment to the journey of self-love. It isn’t a short-term goal. It’s isn’t expensive facials or skincare products. It’s what make self feel cared for and worthy.

We know this may seem daunting at first but with some creativity, self-reflection and discipline it’s possible.

and worth it.

To get your creatives juices flowing, we came up with a few ideas to incorporate self-care and make your physical and mental well-being a priority:

PHYSICAL

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Skincare Tips

While environmental pollution disproportionately affects people of color, there are some things we can do to protect our skin while in the elements.

  • sunscreen, minimal spf 30. melanin is a great attribute and a natural protection mechanism of the skin. However, the false belief that melanin protects from all and skin cancer not being possible for dark skin causes us to be more at-risk, and more likely, to die from skin cancer. In addition, studies show that doctors are less likely to detect skin cancer in the early stages for POC, due to access to health care, lack of skin cancer research on POC, and detection difficulty. Sunscreen is a necessity, y’all.

  • vaseline, grandma’s secret still works. Petroleum can protect against smog and air pollution by acting as a barrier to keep pollutants and dirt out. The key is to remember to apply vaseline on CLEAN, DAMP skin. Also, for those with very oily skin, it is crucial to properly clean your face day AND night if you choose to use vaseline as a moisturizer. This will make it less likely to seal in dirt and dead skin, causing breakouts. Petroleum alone is not likely clog pores.

FITNESS ROUTINE

Working on your fitness can be done outside of the gym and offers not only benefits to your body by increasing endurance and heart health but it also can health improve our mental health by releasing endorphins that make us happier.

  • going for walks and yoga, taking some time to be mindfully active can be a calming way to reflect and breathe. Walks after eating is also great for digestion and overall health.

  • body weight exercises, using youtube/social media to find at-home circuits and dancing! They’re all a great way to sweat out body toxins and get the heart rate up. J likes googling Jillian Michaels circuits to do at home :)

MENTAL

MINDFULNESS

Practicing mindfulness can be a way to center your thoughts and slow the day down before the grinds continues. Write out your to-dos or look ahead for whats to come throughout the week. Its helps to reduce stress, stay engaged and productive.

BREATHING EXERCISES

Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4….Breathe out 5, 6, 7, 8….Breathing from your diaphragm at a slow and steady rate is a great way to get your vital energy or chi flowing throughout your body. When you read this, did you mentally breathing in and out?

JOURNALING

Journaling can be a way to release experiences and thoughts. If you can’t afford a therapist, which we’ve been and are there, it’s a start to documenting your emotions, reflection and self-awareness.

Be well,

J and Lexi Lu