4 ways to bring wellness practices into everyday life

 

We live in a world that loves to talk about how to be “healthier” but, often times those conversations are surface level and to not take into account people’s actual lived experiences. As QPOC, we are often left out of conversations around wellness, and most articles or conversations do not take a realistic approach on how to match wellness practices with our everyday lives.

It can be difficult to start these conversations, so we have gathered here 4 things we can do to begin thinking about wellness. Hopefully, this can be a starting point for us to think about how to bring other wellness practices that work for us into our day to day life.

 

Make time to eat.

Life can get hectic and sometimes it’s hard to find the time, and for some, the motivation, to eat. Sometimes in the middle of a busy work day, or when studying for school, or trying to care for family or depression, it can feel too difficult or too much of a bother to take the time to just sit and eat, but this time is important. Sometimes just blocking out the time in your schedule, or setting aside a specific time in your day can help you remember to take the time to get food. Along with this is: make sure to drink enough water.

 

Coffee or Tea

There are pro and cons to both. Studies have shown that people who drink tea are at a significantly lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Both of which impact POC communities at a higher rate, with heart disease and stroke being the first and fourth, respectively,  leading causes of death for Black/African Americans and the second and fourth for Latinx/Hispanics in Travis County.  While coffee has been shown to slow down the onset of Parkinson’s, liver disease, and may prevent colon cancer from returning after treatment. The difference being: coffee has more caffeine and tends to be paired with more sugar and cream, which may offset any health benefits. Cutting out the additional sugar and milk can allow you to get those health benefits from coffee.

 

Process

Make sure to take the time to process your day. As QPOC we can, and do, encounter violence against us daily. It is important that we take the time to allow ourselves to process our day, whether it be through meditation, music, journal keeping, talking, or any way that works for you. By taking the time to process we allow ourselves the time to heal so that we do not take the negative with us into our personal relationships. It also allows us the time to process the good that happened to us that day, and raise those experiences in our hearts.

 

Sleep

Sleep can be complicated. One of the first things to be affected by depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as many other physical and mental statuses, is our sleep cycles. Depending on your age the suggested amount of sleep can change, with between 7-8 hours of sleep a night being the most common numbers people know, but for many people that can be difficult. Some people can require more sleep and others require less. Find what works for you, and talk with a local healer or provider if your sleep cycle isn’t working out for you, they may have recommendations or ways to assist.

 

These are just a few ways we can bring wellness into our everyday life. What about you? What ways to do bring wellness into your everyday life? Let us know in the comments below

4 Communication Habits for QPOC

Communication. It’s one of those words that people use so much it’s almost meaningless. Effective communication is seen as the solution for a variety of different problems. Having relationship trouble? Just communicate more/better. Trouble at work? Make sure you’re communicating with your supervisor and co-workers. But rarely do we ever consider what communication actually looks like, and even more rarely do we look at what communication looks like through the unique experiences of QPOC.

 

As QPOC, our voices should not be silenced and disregarded. We should be encouraged to communicate. Practicing healthy communication is one way to overcome the many isms of oppression exist as ways to keep us down and silent. Sometimes we can internalize these systems of oppression and carry them with us keeping us from expressing and living unburdened. Everyone should practice healthy communication, but it is especially important for our communities.

 

So what is communication? What does it look like? The simple answer is… it depends. Communication is different for every person, and it often looks different to the same person depending on the people and places around them. In order to begin a conversation around what communication looks like we’ve gathered a list of four habits we can build.

 

Listen

Often the most overlooked part of communication is listening. We can spend so much time thinking about what we are going to say, or how we are going to reply, that we never truly hear what the other person is saying. For some people, this can take extra work, especially for people with privilege, who are often told their voices and experiences matter more than others.

 

Listening isn’t just about hearing the words that someone is saying. It’s about working to understand what they are trying to convey to you through their words, through their tone, and through their body language.

Recognize that your voice and experience matter

We need only look at those who are raising their voices and experiences to see how powerful we are. From poets, singers, artists, musicians and more, QPOC have used their power to shape the world. When we take the time and work to value our own voices, we are not only better able to communicate with those around us, we are also taking steps on our continuous journey of self-love. Your voice matters, your experiences are important, and your emotions are valid. By recognizing this, we can begin to assert ourselves both within and outside of our communities and discover how powerful our voices can be.

 

Recognize what you are feeling and be honest with yourself

This can be hard to do at first. Often times one of the first steps to being able to meaningfully communicate with someone else is to look internally and recognize the thoughts and emotions that we are holding inside ourselves.

 

Many of us are raised and told that some things are ‘normal’ to want, think or feel, and when we differ from those things we can begin to feel shame about ourselves.We start trying to act in the way that’s expected and end up even more frustrated. It is when we know and are honest with ourselves that we can begin a path towards healing. By looking introspectively we can also begin to recognize when we are replicating systems of oppression in our own lives and when those oppressive systems have been internalized and are keeping us from sharing.

 

Know when it’s best to take time

Going hand in hand with recognizing your thoughts and feelings is knowing when to take a step back from a situation. Sometimes our reaction to pressure to communicate is to share our first response or thought. Often, the best thing we can do is to recognize when we need time to process before we can participate.

 

If you are interested in continuing this conversation, come out to our Fostering Community Through Better Communication discussion where we will talk more about these and other topics.

5 Self Love Affirmations for Enbies (Trans Non-Binary People)

In a colonized world that loves its binaries, refusing to conform to gender expectations and existing beyond those boundaries as a non-binary person (NB or enby) can be so magical and also… so exhausting. From having to choose between binary bathrooms—to being asked to give repeated grammar lessons on pronouns—to feeling perpetually unseen and unrecognized for your gender and personhood, these are just a few constant reminders of a world that was not built for us can feel very defeating and overwhelming.

Self-love, then, is a radical and powerful and necessary tool that we can use for ourselves and each other to combat all of the invalidation and hatred we face in our everyday lives. Self-love is a practice and a process; I will readily admit that I am hardly perfect in caring, accepting, and loving myself. These affirmations are much easier for me to give to you than even for me to believe fully for myself. And that’s okay. It takes time to internalize these loving statements and overwrite the doubtful ones, but today is as good a day as any to practice.

You absolutely are enough.

I promise. Wherever you are in your journey, however much left you have to figure out, you are absolutely enough in this moment, right now. There is nothing lacking or wrong with you because of the way you feel about your gender or the way your gender presents itself.

Furthermore, you are trans enough. So often, trans non-binary people feel unheard and discredited—or pressured to prove ourselves as “truly trans” or not-cis. However, the reality is that there are no wrong ways to be trans or non-binary, and transness is not a competition or race. You are trans enough, and I believe you.

(In fact, questioning whether or not you are trans enough is such a common trans experience that I’d say just that act on its own could “prove” that you are, indeed, trans enough.)

Your gender is beautiful.

Stunning. Fabulous. Exquisite. Your gender is beautiful and honest. It’s so real, and the world is a finer place for witnessing it.

It’s okay if you don’t know everything right now. You are wholly lovable just the way you are right now.

It’s okay if you aren’t sure what name, gender, labels, or pronouns are right for you yet. It’s okay if those change or continue to change. It’s okay if you never figure it out. It’s okay if you don’t know whether or not you want to biomedically transition. It’s okay if you don’t know whether or not you want to socially transition. It’s okay if you didn’t know you were trans since you were a young child. It’s okay if aren’t sure whether or not you are non-binary. It’s okay if you don’t know everything right now. You don’t have to be certain to be valid and valuable.

Take the time you need to explore and figure things out. You deserve that.

You are not alone.

Non-binary gender identities have existed for as long as gender has existed. Although our language around gender may have changed and new words may have emerged, non-binary genders are not a recent trend or fad. There is a beautiful and extensive history of gender nonconforming and trans non-binary ancestors who are so proud of you for being who you are today.

Today, there are so many enbies living all over the world—just check #NonBinaryTwitter for a quick peek. You are not alone and you are needed.

Your existence is revolutionary.

You are needed simply for your existence. We are showing the world what gender can look like without boundaries and binaries, a vision that is too often left out and and diminished. Non-binary people actively challenge the norms and expectations of gender, just by living their authentic lives. When we live in a world that tries to destroy and neglect our presence, the existence of enbies is revolutionary.

Trying to navigate and survive this very absurdly binary world (where everything from bathrooms to eyeglass shops is needlessly gendered) can feel so tiresome and lonely. I know. But you are doing just enough, and your existence and perseverance are inspiring.

 

Hold on to these affirmations and repeat them to yourself and your fellow enbies whenever you need a reminder of your brilliance. Know someone who could use some affirmation? Share this with them now as a gesture of validation and love!