I’m feeling burned out…I have said yes to too many things, I have too much on my plate, I have some tough things going on in my personal life and the result is me feeling burned out. One of the worst parts of this is that it’s negatively impacting my work. I love being a therapist; sitting with people, helping them to process their emotions and experiences, bearing witness to their pain, and talking through strategies to help them improve their lives. And yet, in this space of burnout I feel less empathic and patient with my clients who are most challenging. My ability to take a step back and see what is happening emotionally in sessions has been diminished. I feel guilty and embarrassed by these shortcomings. I feel badly that I may not be offering my clients the best support possible.
Part of my experience of stress and burnout is situational. I work at a university that is on a quarter system and this is the time of the quarter when we are busy and have a lot to fit in before the academic year ends. Part of this is because of my own difficulty saying no to things and my general excitement related to taking on new things. I am realizing that I need to be more strategic about what I say yes to and that I cannot sign on to everything that looks good and comes my way.
Why has the exclusion of black people and black movies from the Oscars been so frustrating and upsetting to us? Part of the reason is because the actors, writers, and directors that we support, look up to, and are inspired by aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Another reason is that excluding black narratives and characters from the nominations makes us feel like our own lives and experiences are being invalidated. Finally, I believe that the lack of black nominees in the Oscars this year resonates with us deeply because as black women we have experienced similar invalidation throughout our lives and careers. We know the pain and disappointment of being overlooked and underrated. We are familiar with the frustration of having our ideas and abilities repeatedly questioned. The fight to diversify the Oscars is not just about the entertainment industry, it’s also about fighting for our lives, our work, our stories, our selves to be acknowledged as important and legitimate.
Being at the intersection of blackness and womanhood comes with unique stressors and pressures. One important step towards positive mental health is acknowledging the things that make life more difficult for us and then engaging in coping strategies to address this stress. This post will share an overview of unique challenges that black women contend with; many of these topics will be explored in depth in future blog posts. I grouped these stressors into a few common categories and include suggested coping mechanisms. Continue reading “Black Women and Stress”→