On this episode of Listen to Black Women, co-hosts Jessie Woo, Taryn Finley and Tiffany Nicole Ervin are joined by the host of the “Self Care IRL” podcast, Ty Alexander. All things self-care and why it is so important — especially for Black women–is the topic of discussion.
Woo asks the group what changes they’ve made for self-care.
Finley’s changes involve getting enough sleep: “I have to get my seven to eight hours or I’m done.” she states.
She has both a morning and a night routine, complete with tea, candles and CBD. All of the women agree sleep is essential to self-care — particularly for Black women who commonly suffer a sleep deficit.
“Rest is a right. It is not a reward. You do not have to work yourself to the bone to get some rest,” says Ervin.
Ervin’s point leads to a conversation around toxic hustle culture and the idea you have to constantly be busy. The ladies love the emergence of Black women displaying lives of leisure on social media and normalizing that they deserve to live a life of luxury — simply because they’re alive and for no other reason.
“I do not dream of work. I dream of living with ease,” says Finley.
A Journey Into Podcasting
Turning attention to the guest, the hosts ask Alexander how she got her into the self-care sphere. She explains that, after her mother passed away, “There weren’t many Black women talking about grief in the way I wanted to talk about it.” She decided to create the community that she needed. –And her podcast was born.
Alexander’s number one self-care tool is journaling. “Thoughts, feelings, emotions … they all need a place to live outside of your brain,” she explains. Plus, looking back on your journal helps you remember what you’ve already survived, Finley reminds the group.
As for tips specifically for someone grieving, Alexander says, “Feel the feelings.”
Following the passing of a loved one, there will be a busy period of making arrangements, but Alexander says it’s critical to sit down and make space to feel the feelings.
Self-Preservation and Reclaiming Zen
Woo reads a quote from author Oludara Adeeyo that contains the line, “Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury,” and with that, the ladies talk about what self-care rituals they’ve taken up.
In addition to doing those more common things like getting waxed or hitting the spa, the women talk about medical care as self-care. “People don’t think of your health as a part of self-care,” says Ervin.
But the women all agree that it is. This, they emphasize, is especially important for Black women because they are taught to ignore their pain.
Alexander shares that she ignored her pain for so long it led to a hysterectomy, so she has lived through this truth. Sometimes doctors are part of the problem: “Doctors are taught to ignore Black women’s pain,” says Alexander.
Alexander’s point sparks the discussion of advocating for one’s self as a tool for self-care. This includes setting boundaries and saying “No.”
Finally, meditation — something of which Alexander is a big proponent–enters the chat. Acknowledging that not everyone knows how to meditate, she says “Even if you’re able to just be still…you’d be surprised how much progress you can get if you just take five minutes to be still.”
The episode ends with a game of This or That, in which they decide between two self-care activities. One thing is for certain: when it comes to a vacation, no one wants a jam-packed itinerary!
Be sure to tweet @MadameNoire to let us know what you thought about today’s episode and follow @TyAlexander for more self-care tips.