Updated: Sep 12
For the past few weeks, the Black Lives Matter movement has been gathering momentum globally following the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arberry in the US. Social Media has been heated but has ultimately driven some much-needed conversations and forced us to once again call out the UK for its own systemic racism. Many of us will be experiencing the ‘growing pains’ that come with the self-reflection and uncomfortable discussions we are all having. Whilst positive and necessary, it can become emotionally draining and feel as though there is no ‘escape’ from it when it is everywhere you turn.
Media Fatigue - the tendency to pull back from social media when you feel overwhelmed. It is now more important than ever that we do not disconnect from the chance to see permanent change. Here are a few tips for looking after your mental health whilst we continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement:
Focus on the good
Clean up your social media! It is perfectly fine to unfollow pages that make your feed feel negative. We literally have the power of knowledge at our fingertips, coupled with the power to decide what we engage with. Rather than partaking in the emotional war fueled by images of riots and ignorant anti-protestors, we can focus our energy on the unity we are seeing on a global scale, the infinite learning resources and the peaceful protests taking place all over the world. Social media can be your tool or your enemy, YOU decide.
Despite your best efforts to be selective with your follows, it is still really easy to stumble across a post or ignorant comment that negatively impacts your mood. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just take a short break from social media altogether. Allow your mind to return to logical thinking rather than emotional. Now, this point does not mean walking away from uncomfortable conversations and refusing to engage, rather, it means allowing yourself to ‘park’ things until you are in a better mental space to address them properly.
Internalising our negative emotions can sometimes manifest in physical ways such as lack of motivation, low mood and anxiety. As lockdown eases, it is now becoming easier to see our loved ones after months of quarantine. Indulge yourself in a socially distanced walk or picnic with some good friends and talk about the things that are weighing you down. If you are not ready to get out there yet, it is still important to stay connected and get things off your chest (See our previous blog for tips on mental health and staying connected while indoors). Many of us have been weathering the same storm in different boats, and chances are that others will be able to relate to your struggles.
Black Lives Matter - Today, Tomorrow and the day after that. Social media remains the best platform for us to amplify our voices. Despite the news reporting less and our feeds beginning to return to ‘normal’, remember that we are not done yet. Keep having those conversations and keep educating yourself and others. Peaceful protests are still taking place, even though the mainstream media would rather highlight the (minority) rioters; but that’s for another blog post.
We are in this together. Whatever you are doing to support the movement - Do. Not. Stop.
4YoungMinds is hosting an Instagram Live with Nathan Frazer-Carroll on Racial Inequality in Education on Friday 26th June at 7pm. Follow us on Instagram and tune in here: https://www.instagram.com/4youngminds_/