Black to the Roots: Reclaiming Spirituality to Promote Self-Care

Black to the Roots: Reclaiming Spirituality to Promote Self-Care


This submit was written by Jatawn Tickles, MA, Jasiah McCalla, MEd, Shawntell Tempo, MEd, Tanisha Pelham, MS, and Collette Chapman-Hilliard, Ph.D., doctoral college students and Affiliate Professor of Counseling Psychology on the College of Georgia.

Black psychologists are sometimes requested about easy methods to promote self-care amongst Black folks, significantly amid societal and political stress factors comparable to ongoing police brutality, elevated racial tensions, and added well being inequities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas there are a lot of methods to advertise self-care amongst Black folks, a current dialog amongst our analysis staff members (Sankofa Analysis and Outreach Workforce) about culturally centered self-care led us to think about the essential position of spirituality in self-care within the Black group.

Reflecting on our personal experiences and relationship with spirituality, many people recognized our nice grandmothers, grandmothers, and leaders within the church as offering first introductions to religious areas. A few of us even mentioned how we noticed non secular follow as being completely different from religious connection. Our dialogue appeared to spotlight these moments typically current amongst Black group members that mirror an unstated understanding or “I see you.” From Second Line celebrations of life and prosperity to altars devoted to the ancestors as an appreciation of their steering, Black folks thrive in areas of religious connectedness. So, why is spirituality essential to self-care amongst Black folks? Part of the reply lies in what we are able to study from Black psychology.

Spirituality as a Life-Affirming Power

To not be confused with faith, Myers (1993) defines spirituality as not solely a reference to God, however a guiding reference to the world round us. Very similar to Dr. Linda James Myers, different elders of Black psychology have referenced the cultural significance of honoring spirit and the way it can function a guiding mild. Students like Drs. Wade Nobles, Joseph White, and Na’im Akbar recommend that spirituality is crucial to understanding how Black folks interact the world. A current examine even exhibits how spirituality serves as a protecting issue for Black folks when experiencing stress (Lewis et al., 2021). For a lot of Black folx, spirituality is a lifestyle that has grow to be so deeply ingrained that it is part of the very manner we look after ourselves. Whether or not burning sage in a brand new dwelling to set optimistic power or cooking collard greens and black eye peas to deliver prosperity within the New 12 months, these rituals function a masking and technique of safety. It stands to remind us that we’re part of one thing higher than ourselves, permitting us to look after ourselves and our communities. From the traditional reference of Negro Spirituals that guided slaves to freedom, to the Gospel songs sung by way of the marches of the civil rights actions, to the chants of present-day protest surrounding police brutality and homicide of Black folks, the salience of spirituality as a supply of power turns into obvious.

In his dialogue of the seven psychological strengths of Black folks, Dr. Joseph White, the Godfather of Black Psychology, refers to spirituality as “a life-affirming drive which is chargeable for power within the face of adversity, inspiration, vitality and hope for a brighter tomorrow.” In different phrases, spirituality is a foundation for care within the Black group. We are able to look to our historical past to check quite a few examples of caring for one’s spirit, comparable to Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, bell hooks, Octavia Butler, Barbara Peacock, Toni Morrison, and plenty of extra. What we study from the narratives of those people is that self-care amongst Black folks contains intentional religious work, and regardless of each private and societal challenges, we can’t overlook to have interaction within the issues that replenish our spirit.

Non secular Respite as a Type of Self-Care

Self-care has grow to be considerably of a buzzword for these searching for to domesticate private wellness. Nevertheless, self-care is not only about private wellness for Black folks, it’s religious respite. Reflecting deeper on the works of beforehand famous Black psychologists, we spotlight the significance of participating in practices that construct our sense of self and subsequently our spirituality.

Leaning into the work of Black psychology students and drawing upon classes from the ancestors, spirit restoration includes:

1. Self-Reflection. Take moments to have interaction in self-reflection, by sitting within the second and setting intentions all through the day or take the second to have interaction in preparation for the subsequent day. By doing so, we are able to welcome moments of gratitude for our experiences and compassion for our selections. Self-reflection is a time to attach with ourselves and honor the wholeness of who we’re.

2. Connection and Group. One of the notable strengths of Black tradition is our price of collectivism. As we function as a collective, think about making time to attach with family members, good friend teams, household, and friends. Restoration of our spirit is usually present in our moments after we join with group.

3. Reconnect Via Nature. Black folks, though not all the time included in conversations about their indigenous roots, are traditionally folks of the land. To stretch this religious muscle, think about spending time with nature by way of hikes, walks, gardening, consuming complete meals, or meditating in pure areas. Intentionality and nature can usher in a deeper connection to the world round us.

4. Attain Again and Get (Sankofa). A lot of the narrative of Black tradition is uncared for or hidden. And as we mirror on this, we’re reminded of one thing our advisor/mentor usually says, “Our historical past doesn’t start with slavery.” Subsequently, Black folx are charged with the duty of reclamation. As such, this can be a time to have interaction within the exploration and analysis into narratives that spotlight Black voices. Reaching again may additionally contain reconnecting with elders locally or inspecting the tales and traditions of our ancestors.

For a lot of Black group members, spirituality is central to self-care because it displays safety, hope, and group. In searching for to attach with self, assist Black psychological well being, and faucet into the Black group’s cultural strengths, it’s important that we make the most of spirituality as a type of liberation in a world that perpetuates narratives of anti-Blackness. The reminder right here is easy, be intentional to care in your spirit to look after the self.


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