Navigating corporate america as a black millennial girl is stressful. I mean... weight fluctuating, eye straining, head migrating stressful. The image of the strong black woman betrays us, because it gives our peers room to antagonize us, while we base our success on how much pain we can endure. Since, no matter how we feel on the inside, black women always look good on the outside; people assume that our mental health is just as intact as our youthful skin. Black Don't Crack- or does it?
LIK reader posed this question:
"Even though black women look awesome externally (black don't crack), Internally, studies have shown black women to be approximately seven years "older" than the white women due to external stress factors (racism, housing/employment inequality, multiple caretaker roles). When navigating the corporate world, how does a black women keep external stress at a minimum when we are predisposed to these factors? "
-L. Coleman, 22
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health is often overlooked by the African American Community. However, in order to elevate our socio-economic standing and move up in corporate america, our generation should take it more seriously. It's important to start off our careers with good practices to maintain our mental health for years to come. How are black women dealing with stress?
Exercise. Black Girls Run! Black Girls hike! Even it's a fitness class, or a dog walk, break the stigma that sweat isn't cute. It's life. "Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins."
Artistic Expressions. Writing this blog is therapy for me! Whether it's art, poetry, music or whatever- express yourself. Singing loud in your car on the way home is one of my favorites! In fact singing has been shown to:
Consider the Philosophy of the CareFree Black Girl.
Sounds absolutely ridiculous, the notion being carefree. Don't allow people make you feel bad about being yourself. From what I've heard, the carefree black girl cares a whole lot. She cares about her people, her life and her world. However, she does not care about the societal projections cast upon her based on her ethnicity and social class. She accepts and loves herself. Her hobbies, image, occupation, love, and aspirations are her choice. What does a software engineer suppose to look like? #WeDontCare Black Girls don't lead? Says Who.
How do you control your stress? Leave a comment below.
Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
PS: Read about the Time I did NOT stand up for equality here.