Journey of Resilience: Strategies for Our Well-Being
Written by Kanishka Sikri |
At Culture Check, we are not just observers; we are active participants in living and working as racialized professionals. I’m Kanishka Sikri, Research Manager at Culture Check, and I am here to talk about our mental health–and why it is a concern that hits close to home, especially right now.
We are all too familiar with the unique challenges that come with being a racialized professional. It is a path laden with obstacles, oftentimes feeling like we are in a maze with no way out. Systemic biases and stereotypes tend to define our daily struggles. Leadership positions can leave us feeling undervalued, despite our qualifications. It is not uncommon to experience imposter syndrome or feel gaslit into thinking we do not belong.
In predominantly white workplaces, we have learned that it is essential to mentally and emotionally prepare for potential trauma and daily microaggressions. We have all had to develop our own game plan to tackle these challenges head-on.
But let us get real, it is not just our professional lives that suffer. The emotional complexity of living as racialized professionals seeps into every facet of our existence. It shapes our identity, faith, and how we relate to our communities. We often grapple with internalized oppression and the complex task of rewriting our own narratives.
Strategies for Our Well-Being:
Acknowledging that the structural exists and we must work within it, what can we do now to empower ourselves? Here is what has been working for us:
Routine: We try to be intentional with how we spend and structure our days. For us working remotely, we find that starting the day with getting up and getting dressed helps us establish a sense of structure and normalcy.
Journaling: We have found that journaling our moods and sorting out our thoughts is a valuable self-care practice. It helps us avoid invalidating ourselves and gain clarity.
Self Dashboards: Learning to read our own emotional dashboard and identifying what is depleting us and what fills us is essential for self-awareness and well-being.
Breaks: Taking breaks and creating mental space for reflection, whether through walks, yoga, or solo retreats, is crucial for our mental health.
Gratitude Journal: Maintaining a gratitude journal helps orient our minds towards the positive aspects of life and prevents spiralling into negativity. It also allows us to track our emotional journey over time.
Hobbies: Engaging in hobbies and learning new skills provides a refreshing escape from work and family, nourishing our souls. Our team particularly enjoys arts-based practices.
Spiritual and Religious Life: For those who find solace in faith and spirituality, taking on new practices, studying, and seeking spiritual connection can be grounding such as creating altars and engaging in collective worship.
Community: Building and deepening connections with a supportive community is essential, especially after prolonged isolation (thank you, Zoom!).
In the end, all of these strategies are about developing ourselves. Taking the power out of the structure’s hands, however briefly, and focusing on ourselves–our needs, desires, wants. We have found that having a clear plan for our lives and careers, seeking mental health therapy to address trauma, and engaging in meaningful conversations can improve our well-being significantly.
Conversations surrounding racial inequity hold tremendous power. Daily actions and discussions are how we make long-term change happen. By sharing our personal experiences, we have fostered self-awareness and developed greater sensitivity to how we occupy and relate to inequity. We encourage you to join our Culture Check Ins and Chats if you also want to engage in this conversation with us.
Our journey is a continuous one, and we are still figuring things out as we go. We want to remind you that you are not alone. We are on this journey with you. We are here to offer support and to provide a safer space where you can explore your own experiences, share your concerns, and we can find solutions together. We believe in nurturing a community where racialized professionals can not only survive but truly thrive.
So how do you feel? Does this resonate with you? What questions, concerns, challenges, strategies are occupying your space and time right now? Let us know with as much or as little detail as you like. We are always listening.