Relaxation and self-care are elusive for many black women — rest advocates are trying to change that


All my homies are tired. One is eager to leave the company to which she has diligently contributed five
years of their lives while another is exhausted by the forces challenging their peace of mind: fat phobia, housing instability, colorism. As for me? I’m tired of putting my family on my shoulders, forcing myself to forgive pain that has spread from my heart to my body and mind. There are two problems: black women don’t get enough rest, and we don’t get all the kinds of rest we need.

“It’s become normal for black women to feel tired,” says La’Tish M. Thomas, LCSW, a New
Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist from York City. Her virtual private practice, Therapy in Healing Spaces, caters to Black, Indigenous, and Black women in their 20s to late 40s. “Culturally and generationally, we saw our mothers and grandmothers take on so much,” adds Thomas. “Because of this, we have learned to hold on to everything. We feel the need to prove ourselves to society, which leads us to overhaul ourselves to be ‘the best’.”

“You don’t always have to create, do and contribute to the world. Your birth also gives you rest and free time,” tweeted Tricia Hersey, founder of online platform The Nap Ministry and a leading figure in the Black Rest discussion. She started her business too
Encourage his online community of black people to look at their relationship with recreation as a means to better well-being. In this context, it is important to remember that fatigue is more
as aching bones, dry eyes yearning for sleep, and a flood of overwhelming thoughts drowning our minds. And the idea of ​​rest, which holds seductive promises of liberation and renewal, is just as urgent and elusive — even by medical standards.

A 2020 study published in the journal Sleep found that there was a higher level of perceived racism
associated with an increased likelihood of insomnia in middle-aged and elderly Black women. Because insomnia can have negative health effects, the racism internalized by black women has led to medical inequality.

“If you’re always trying to survive, you can’t think about resting,” says the New York City resident
Therapist Racquel P. Jones, MSW, LCSW-R, Founder of Transforming Lives Counseling Center. “You feel like no one will take care of you. The more intersections you have in your identity, the more difficult it is. It’s especially hard for black trans women, black black women, fat black women, and disabled black women.”

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