Self-Care Routine For Black Women: 10 Tips For Life Long Happiness

For black women, self-care routines are important. Think about this: we take time out of the little we have to take care of family, friends, spouses, and even co-workers but we always bury our own needs. 

In the long run, it can be harmful to us both physically and mentally. 

How can you be happy when you’re completely drained?

If you feel like you’re pouring from an empty cup and not reaching your full potential, you could be neglecting both your inner and outer self. 

Why is Self-Care Routine for Black Women So Essential?

The world demands a lot from black women. It asks that we look perfect, act with precision, achieve, take care of others and for black women, society expects us to be strong. So it’s no wonder why there’s a mental health epidemic among women of all ages. 

If we can’t meet our own needs, we’ll never be able to meet those of others. What we’re left with is a tired, lacklustre, and unfulfilling life that leaves us feeling hopeless. It’s time to make a change and stand up for our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Here’s how:

Tried & Tested Self Care Routine For Black Women

1. Hydrate first thing, and don’t stop hydrating

Setting yourself off on the right foot every morning is as simple as drinking a glass of water. After a night’s rest, your body’s essential hydration levels are depleted. Evidence shows that if you reach for coffee (a natural diuretic,) you’re not doing yourself any favours. 

Shake off the morning cobwebs by adding a zest squeeze of lemon or lime to your water. And don’t stop there; keep a bottle or glass of water on hand at all times. Water is the body’s natural cleanser and makes up 70% of you – so get your fill!

2. Switch your notifications off

That’s right, you have formally been given permission to do the unthinkable – turn on airplane mode while firmly on the ground.

Just like mentioned before, we as black women need a self-care routine. We are always available when called upon for support. 

These days, we’re never unreachable. The noise from the outside world follows us home. Even if we set our phone to silent, we still feel the unrelenting urge to check it every five minutes or less.

It only makes sense that this bombardment of information would be wreaking havoc on our mental health. According to a 2015 study from Carnegie Mellon University and Telefonica, disabling notifications can improve your concentration and cognitive functioning while reducing stress. 

And don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you go MIA for a week (the participants of the study flat-out refused to do so.) All we’re saying is that disconnecting from time to time is healthy. Even a day should suffice as per the study’s conclusions. 

If that all sounds a bit much, even just turning your data off for 30 minutes a day could help your mind to reset and revitalize. 

3. Get active

There is a theory, backed up by a chunk of research, that suggests humans are packed full of energy that can turn to anxiety if not expended.

That’s quite the mouthful but think of it like this: if you keep pouring liquid into a cup and never pour it out, that cup will eventually overflow. Your energy stores work the same way. 

Every day, what we mistake for jittery thoughts and worries, is often just the overflow of pent-up energy that’s crying to be released.

Fortunately, to soothe your mind, body, and soul, you don’t have to run a marathon. Rather, studies suggest you’ll feel the benefits after just a 30-minute workout. 

What are these benefits I speak of? 

    • Improved appearance – Clearer skin, improved muscle tone, and all-around glow.
    • Confidence boost – As your strength builds, so too will your self-esteem. 
    • Mental Clarity – Exercise can blow away brain fog, leaving you with crisp, clear thoughts and ready to take on absolutely anything the day throws your way. 
    • Health benefits – Reduced risk of developing chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
    • Enhanced memory & creativity 
    • Increased productivity 

And the list goes on.

4. Some 30-minute exercise inspiration

Moving for half an hour is easier (and even more enjoyable) than you think. Why not try out some of those Yoga poses you’ve been meaning to master? Even a one-woman bedroom dance party to your favourite tunes can get the blood pumping. If your dog looks like they’d appreciate a walk – walk them! Or, take yourself out for a walk and explore the neighbourhood; the options are endless.

For those busy gals 

Sometimes, you might not even have a whole 30 minutes to spare – that’s okay. A study has shown that alternatively, three minutes of exercise for every hour spent seated could literally extend your lifespan by 30%. So we can only imagine what it’s doing for your physical and mental well-being. Take a brisk walk around the office or do some stretches every bathroom break – it may just save your life.

5. Start that art class already

Fear and lack of motivation are the primary hurdles in self-care and life. The second is self-doubt. All of these can be overcome by taking the first step. By signing up for that yoga class or online language course, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.

In fact, evidence shows that learning a new skill can obliterate self-doubt, which, in turn, opens up new opportunities for us. When we feel like we can, we do. And when we do, we feel better. It’s as simple as that.

Having hobbies encourages us to be a more well-rounded and interesting person, not to mention that it occupies our thoughts, preventing any wayward or harmful thinking patterns from forming.

6. Get some sleep

In our fast-paced, modern world, we tend to put sleep on the backburner. However, despite the outdated “you snooze, you lose” line used in business circles, professionals have changed their tune lately. 

In fact, you’ll find several highly successful entrepreneurs and leaders who claim sleep as their no. 1 asset. And the reason is obvious. Sleep is your brain’s fuel. Without it, you’re running on empty. The driving experience is sloppy, stressful, and above all – low quality.

We all know that we need over 7 hours of sleep a night, so why does it seem so hard to achieve? The answer is that it’s not your fault. Our world is built to keep you awake. Unfortunately, bright streetlights and even brighter phone screens can significantly plummet your melatonin levels and throw off your circadian rhythm. Here’s what you can do to regain control of your sleeping schedule:

How to perfect your bedtime strategy

  • Follow a consistent sleep routine – have a set screens-off time. If you’re not feeling sleepy at that time, read a book until you begin to doze off. 
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, etc.) – caffeine in all its forms is a stimulant. It can take 10 hours for coffee to completely clear your system, meaning that it could be the villain keeping you awake at night.
  • Get some sunshine and exercise every day – your body’s systems react to the natural light and dark (day and night) cycle every 24 hours, producing sleep-inducing hormones to suit. So, take that step into the sunshine and let your body know what time it is.
  • Open the blinds when you awake – Let the morning light shine in and remind your circadian clock that it’s time for action.
  • Don’t hit the snooze button -As tempting as it feels to grab those extra ten minutes in the morning, they’re doing nothing for you. Instead of giving you valuable REM sleep, they actually tend to make you feel more groggy and sloppy throughout the morning.
  • Try to avoid napping – it’s normal to experience an afternoon slump, especially if you’re prone to sleeping poorly. However, if you power through, you may find you fall asleep faster at night and thus have less need for naps the following day.

7. Plan your meals

Finding time for three meals a day can be a mammoth task. If you find that your eating habits have become chaotic, it might be time to streamline your meals.

To combat that drift, start the week by creating a comprehensive shopping list. Base this list on delicious, nutritional meals that are quick and easy to prepare. Ensure that there’s enough quantity to see you through to the end of the week. Next, purchase all the ingredients while trying not to deviate from the list. And finally – bon appétit! 

Note: A few indulgent treats are good for the mind and soul. Don’t deprive yourself entirely.

8. Make yourself a priority

This is my favorite self care routine for black women. You are your top investment. Therefore, your hopes, dreams, and ambitions deserve your full focus. Coincidingly, the well-being you need to achieve the life you want should always be at the forefront of your mind. 

Working yourself to the bone, having a maxed-out schedule, and always being there for others is a guaranteed path to burnout. While you may be adept in juggling all of these obligations, rest and self-care give you the edge to perform them optimally while feeling fulfilled. 

Tips for focusing on your well-being 

  • Learn to say no – other people’s lives are not your responsibility. Instead, take time for yourself and give back better when you can. An analogy for this concept is “Putting your own mask on in a plane before helping others.” The premise is, if you can’t breathe, you can’t help others to breathe. So, don’t be afraid of claiming back your no; it’s your right.
  • Design an unwavering schedule – having a disordered day often escalates into a disordered week, year – life. This topsy-turvy way of living can spike anxiety levels and make us feel like we’re never getting anything done. Moreover, we’re more likely to prioritize the wrong things. So, purchase a planner or open up Google Calendar or better yet to ensure you prioritise what is important to you, why not create your Soulful Personal Development Plan
  • Create a beauty/self-care routine and stick to it – when we look a million bucks, we also feel a million bucks. Moreover, the act of caring for oneself is a reminder that you’re worth it. You deserve your time, affection, and attention. What’s more, is that these moments of self-pampering can be immensely soothing and revitalizing. So, give yourself the lavish TLC treatment!

Do something you enjoy every day – it seems all we do these days is work and get stressed. That’s not what life is about. You deserve to indulge your desires now and then. Take a few moments (or more) to truly treat yourself and claim back your time. And don’t even think about feeling guilty – self-care is the ultimate productive trick.

9. Write down 5 things you liked about the day

Optimism doesn’t come naturally to most people. Instead, it’s a muscle that’s worked on, gradually growing over time and helping to harness the power of positive thinking and a hopeful outlook for a better life.

If this concept sounds flimsy to you, you might be more likely to take Harvard Medical School’s word for it. They corroborate that focusing on the good and giving thanks has the power to alter your psyche and change your view of the world indefinitely. 

But we’re not going to reach buddha levels of understanding and inner peace from the get-go. So to start off, all you need is a pen and paper (or your phones’ notes and a will to type.)

As it turns out, writing down 5 things that didn’t give you a headache throughout the day can have long-lasting positive effects on your life. Keep your sentences of gratitude somewhere where you can read them throughout the day, reminding yourself about the lovelier things in your life when the going gets tough.

10. Reach out to friends & family

For years, studies have been pointing to the obvious – we need to feel involved, accepted, and heard to not only survive but also thrive. According to this 2020 study on college student’s mental health, a sense of belonging is the most concrete foundation for high self-esteem and happiness.

This effect harkens back to our hunter-gatherer roots when inclusion and regular social interaction was critical for survival. So, it’s no wonder that we often walk away from social gatherings with a spring in our step and a new lease on life – we feel accomplished!

So knit those close ties tighter with your friends and reach out to them often. Don’t be afraid to re-establish old friendships and focus on forming new bonds. 

Final word 

Replenishing your energy levels and nourishing your soul is the main aim of self-care – and as a black woman you should never neglect it. You deserve to have a self-care toolbox at the ready, stocked from the tips above, for you to dip into whenever you feel in need. 

However, a life-long rewarding self-care strategy was never built in a day. Cultivating a concrete self-care routine can take hours of research, learning, and years of practice. So why not deep dive into the world of SoulfulPursuit, where well-being, self-love, self-discovery, and growth are always the order of the day. There, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and will be guided on your journey to a fulfilling and prosperous life – what are you waiting for!?

And before you go… check out these challenges you need to overcome to be the best version of yourself. 

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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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