White Folks Facing Race: Self-Care and Caring for Others

[This is part of my White Folks Facing Race series, originally written on March 18, 2020 to an email group created for community members in the Washington, DC area.]

Hi Friends,

Yep, I’m still here. My updates will continue each week as before. The challenges we face have not gone away and, I’m sure you know, are only going to become more and more obvious as this worldwide crisis develops.

I know you’re overwhelmed hearing all of the news and minute by minute developments. So I’m going to write about two tangential things: (1) self-care; and, (2) caring for others.

For the first, I have talked about self-care before. There’s a helpful article about how to prevent loneliness while social distancing, which has great ideas for self-care. Many of us are likely holding the role of “the calm in the storm.” This is a very important role. But you must also take time for yourself so your calm can last for the duration, a length of time we currently don’t know how to measure. Even if it’s five minutes to meditate before you kids wake up or a solo walk around the block, schedule it and stick to it. The new routines we teach ourselves will be our anchors and will contribute to our physical, emotional, and mental health. Do not underestimate this. This truly will be a marathon. Pace yourself.

For the second, I’m sure you’re reading things about how this current situation is already exacerbating existing inequalities. Two articles I saw were about internet inequality and about children going hungry if they are not at school. There are many more and I’m grateful that these stories are getting attention.

Pause. Breathe. We’re not going to solve systemic inequalities right now. We’re shifting to short-term solutions for an emergency situation. We will learn a lot about how to address long-term issues in our efforts, so keep watching for those lessons and make note of what you learn. Keep learning and being open to seeing the truth about how these systems work and how they fail so many people. Notice the cracks in the systems of oppression so we can come back when this emergency is over and start to dismantle these systems more effectively.

The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself and follow social distancing rules. Within those parameters, there are so many community efforts right now, so many people offering to help each other, so much collective goodwill and hope. There is power in this new focus on our communities as a whole. There are efforts developing to help us coordinate with each other, to create new systems to help our neighbors get through this. Stay alert, share your ideas, keep your chin up.

And if you’re finding yourself with lots of time on your hands, check out the Resource List and catch up on some self-education.

Please reach out anytime. I’m happy to connect with you. You are not alone.

Emily
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

--

Mom, Activist, Community Organizer

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