Walk, Roll, or Stroll with allgo

That time of the year is here again; registration is open for people to sign up to participate in the 30th annual AIDS Walk Austin! The AIDS Walk Austin is an annual gathering and walk that benefits ten local organizations in and around Austin which are providing services to people living with and affected by HIV. allgo, who has participated in the walk for all 30 years, is one of the beneficiary organizations and the money raised supports the health and wellness work that we do with our queer people of color communities.

The walk will take place Sunday, October 29th, 2017 at the newly reopened Republic Square Park. The festival will begin at 11:30am with live music, food trucks, vendors, and activities, and the walk, roll, or stroll will kick off at 2:00pm.

allgo has started a team that is open to anyone who would like to walk, roll, or stroll with other QPOC community members and supporters of allgo. This is a great opportunity to come out and enjoy a day in the park with community. And for those of us who have been telling ourselves that we are going to get out there and get in our steps or distance for the the day, this is the perfect way to do that. Every year for the last 30 years allgo has participated in the walk, and it is because of our community members and supporters that we are able to continue doing the work that we do. We invite our QPOC community members and allgo supporters to join us for a day together.

YOUR participation will make a huge difference!

Please consider joining or donating to the allgo team.

Register before July 20th and receive a discounted registration fee of $15.

 

Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date with all the things allgo is doing.

Managing Anger in a Time of Outrage

It is valid and expected and acceptable to feel rage and fury at the injustice and oppression in this world. The hatred and violence faced by black and brown queer people in recent times has been relentless and unforgivable. And all queer people of color face micro- and/or macro-aggressions on an everyday basis at this point, especially when social media can sometimes make bad news feel inescapable. You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be outraged. It means you are alive, and it means you care, deeply.

However, the reality of the many negative consequences of holding long-term anger are evident. Chronic anger has been linked to health issues like digestive problems, skin disorders, headaches, heart problems, and high blood pressure. Furthermore, poorly managed anger can also contribute to substance abuse as well as emotional and physical abuse. After all, suppressed or unexpressed anger can be an underlying contributor or indicator of anxiety and depression, but on the other hand anger expressed in a damaging way can damage relationships and day-to-day thinking or behavior patterns.

So, be angry, and feel the power in that. But also be sure to take steps to move forward and through that anger. Let it be a guest in your home rather than a permanent fixture. Here are just a few thoughts and suggestions on managing anger in a time of outrage.

Physical Activity

Exercise or any physical activity is an effective stress reducer for many people. If there are physical activities that you enjoy, practicing them regularly can relieve the buildup of stress and anger so that you’re less prone to bottling all of that energy up. Whether or not regular exercise is a part of your week, physical activity can still be used when you can feel anger escalating. Cardio is common option; you could go on a brisk walk or run, or some seated cardio. Strength training can also be effective; you could go into a room by yourself and do pushups (on the floor or with the arm rests on a chair) or sit ups.

Externalize Your Expression

Finding ways to healthily externalize your anger is crucial. Putting your feelings into words in a journal or an essay can help you recognize and understand what you are experiencing—or it can just let you get some words and thoughts out so that they aren’t trapped in your head and heart. Art, music, and other creative expressions can also be healing in a similar way.

Hard on the Issues, Not on the Person

Sometimes, what’s angering you may need to be addressed with people around you, whether it’s the person causing the circumstance or a third party friend or loved one who is checking in with you. In situations where a dialogue around what is angering you is necessary, try to be particularly conscious about how your anger and/or pain can be acknowledged and take space without being toxic. Listen actively and speak with assertion; your anger deserves to be heard. But even in anger, it’s important to try to balance emphasis on the issue at hand with empathy for the other person.

Not everyone deserves your time or energy. You don’t owe an explanation for your anger to someone who disrespects and disregards you. But for those who do care for you and hold significant meaning in your life, it can take a careful, conscious effort not to lash out with violence (physical or emotional) ourselves.

Positive Self Talk & Mindfulness

In the heat of the moment, sometimes what we need is a time-out—just allowing yourself a few minutes of quiet. For many, it also helps to repeat calming words or phrases to themselves, like “relax” or “take it easy.”  You don’t have to face trauma, violence, and incitement and immediately be able to keep rolling with it. Give yourself time to breathe deeply and center yourself. Sit in your emotions and be compassionate with yourself.

Find the power and the balance in your anger. Practice managing your anger in this time of outrage, and be gentle with yourself. Share this with anyone you know who is (rightfully) angered by everything that is happening, so we can all support each other as community through this time of outrage. 

We also want to know your top tips for dealing with anger. Let us know in the comments below or continue the conversation with us on on Facebook and Twitter .

Summer Skin Care

Summer is here and with it the intense summer heat and sun in Texas. As we spend time in community and enjoy get-togethers, it is important that we remember to take the time to care for and protect ourselves from the sun’s rays.Talking about sun skin health can be tricky, especially for people for color. Contrary to assumptions otherwise, black and brown people do get sunburn and skin cancer, and it’s important that we take the time to protect and care for our skin.

Here are some things you can do to protect and care for your skin without having to worry about all the toxic chemicals or high prices of more commercial items.

 

Know what you are putting on your skin

It’s important that we protect our skin when we are going to be out outdoors But equally important is protecting ourselves from the potentially harmful chemicals found in many popular products. Recent studies are showing that common sunscreen and cosmetic ingredients such as oxybenzone, triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and others can disrupt the hormones in our bodies. And other studies are showing that certain forms of vitamin A common in sunscreen products may actually increase the speed that skin tumors grow. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out an annual guide to sunscreens so that consumers may know which products might be made with harmful chemicals, and which ones meet the promises the sunscreen companies make. (On a side note: EWG has a few guides and ranging from makeup, food, pesticides, seafood and more that might be worth taking the time to look at.)

Look at your body

The sun changes our bodies, and sometimes these changes go unnoticed by us and by our doctors. While people of color have lower rates of skin cancer, we have a higher mortality rate with studies showing that we are often diagnosed in late stages. It’s important that we take the time to look at our bodies, note the changes that are happening, and ensure that our doctors provide the appropriate care. Signs to look for and talk to your healthcare provider about are:

  • Spots on your hands, soles of your feet or under your nails
  • The shape, size, or color of existing spots on your body change
  • If the area around an existing spot begins to change color
  • If you notice or have anal or genital warts (HPV)

This is not a comprehensive list, and any changes should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Try to avoid getting sunburned, but take care of your skin if you do burn

As I said earlier, it’s important that we protect our skin when we are going to be out in the sun so that we can avoid sunburns. If we do get a sunburn, though, there are some things we can do to minimize discomfort and help our skin heal. The first thing you can do when you have a sunburn is to, if possible, limit the amount of time you spend in the sun until your skin is healed. You can usually tell when your skin has begun to heal when it begins to peel. If you are going to be getting additional sun, it is important that you apply and reapply sunscreen often. The second thing you can do after spending time in the sun it to moisturize. This is important whether or not you have sunburned and will significantly help soothe the skin and assist in healing. Some people like to use lotion, while others use products like coconut oil. Below is my favorite recipe to help soothe sunburns.

Coconut Milk and Aloe Vera

Simply combine 1 part coconut milk with 1 part aloe vera, and you’re done. You can keep in the fridge for up to a week at a time. This mixture works great for pretty much all things skin related. Growing up my mother used to keep a sávila (aloe vera) plant outside of every door to our house. She used to say that you could tell the energy in your life by the health of the sávila. If it was healthy and happy that meant you were fine. But it it was wilting and sad looking that meant that someone was sending you ojo and you should do something to right the energy in your life. It was common practice to take one of the smaller plants that was growing and gift it to people when they moved into a new house. Those plants were a staple in my life, and we used them for everything. Got a burn? Put some sávila on it. Sunburn? Where’s the sávila? Pimples? Sávila, duh. Bite your tongue or cheek? Rub some sávila on it, Constipated? Just blend up some sávila and add it to peppermint tea. I have been putting it on my sunburns for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I met my partner that I learned that some people have had pretty much the same experience as me, except with coconut milk. First brought up as an alternative to store bought hair conditioners, I quickly realized the potential for sunburn relief. It’s inexpensive, chemical-free, and best of all easy to make.

What about you? How do you protect yourself while enjoying time out in the sun? What are your favorite ways to care for your skin? Let us know in the comments below or continue the conversation with us on on Facebook and Twitter .


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