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Yes, Check On Your “Strong Friend,” But First, Have You Checked In With Yourself?

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With the passing of celebrity fashion designer, Kate Spade, the dialogue around mental health and suicide prevention has re-surfaced. Also, it’s been a popular posting among social media groups and an overall cultural push in asking, “Have you checked on your strong friend? “I too believe it is important to reach out to those who would not traditionally appear to have struggled with mental health; Yet, I have a more pressing question to ask, have you checked on yourself? Too often, we become busy and caught up in everything around us and forget to take care of our own needs until we feel stressed and overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the world we live in.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Additionally, although research indicates that suicidal behaviors occur at a lower rate than their high school counterparts, attempts at suicide among black high school students is increasing at an alarming rate.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Click To Tweet

For many, especially within the black community, misunderstand the importance of mental health. Thus, many members of the black community are reluctant to discuss mental health out of cultural conditioning, shame, and stigma regarding the signs and symptoms as less critical than they really are.

Checking on friends and on those who are close to us is all fine and dandy, however, before you can be there for someone else you need to take care of yourself. And remember, it’s not selfish or crime to ask what you need, you just have to be aware of what your own needs are.

Now, don’t get me wrong, as humans we long for the connection and empathy from others, but before we can make sure we truly support others with their struggles, we need to make sure we are there for ourselves. So, I ask you, when is the last time you took time out for yourself? When was the last time that you honestly took care of your needs, not just physical, but emotional as well? When was the last time you intentionally engaged in self-care?

              

 

Let’s end the stigma and continue to have these courageous conversations. No one is exempt, anyone could struggle with mental health.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are options available to help you cope 1-800-273-8255. You can call the Lifeline at any time to speak to someone and get support. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

As always, bring your ideas and thoughts, let’s have a civil conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts. Emphasis on “civil,” because the block game is S T R O N G. Find me Instagram and Twitter @TheCarterReport, as well as [email protected] I am always interested in hearing about what you all what to hear about.

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Advice

Black Gay Men and Their Need to Lie

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This morning I saw a post that said “What are y’all lying about today?” and it made me angry. I sat for a minute and then it dawned on as me as to why a simple post was so activating to my spirit. I am guilty of telling a quick one, to either get out of a situation or to fit into one. Now, come on sis, let’s talk about it, Black gay men and their need to lie

Have you ever told a lie and felt guilty or shameful about it after. Well, I have and the feeling is disturbing to my spirit. Ugh, this topic is so sensitive and its truly getting out of hand. Again, let me be the first to say “yes, I have told a lie or two in my day,” but some of the stories that fall out of the mouths of you girls is beyond the beyond.

Now, that it’s out there no one can use it against me. This is about being vulnerable. I don’t want to be the girl throwing stones at glass houses and hiding my hands. Let’s take a minute to examine and understand how gays become habitual liars. Thus, I blame the backward ass-ness Black Culture, the religion forced on us to accept White Jesus and heterosexual mainstream societal norms have influenced us to create a façade to impress the impressionable, people will like us more than we actually like ourselves.

Reflect back on your life and consider a time where you felt or knew that it was not safe to be your most authentic self. For me, here is where I learned that lying was purposeful, it was before I was comfortable with my sexuality. Hence, when people would ask I if I was gay, I would say no. I even went to the extent of getting a whole girlfriend and a fake relationship. More so, family systems and cultural conditioned me to believe that my sexuality was wrong. That there is no greater taboo than being a Black gay man in Black American. I lied about it because it was the complete opposite of how I wanted people to see me. When I tell you culture and the idea of “what is Black enough,” really fucked me over. Big mistake! People around me already knew I was gay. I wasn’t lying to them, I was lying to myself. Now take this same concept and apply it other areas of your life. See what I am talking about?

So, again, lying keep me safe and bullies off my back, or so I thought. As I grew older, I repeated this behavior. Not telling my own truths somehow seemed to get me the results that I was hoping for. This pattern of behavior was showing up in all my relationships and interactions. I would call into work, lying about being sick. I would turn assignments in late lying about dealing with personal or family issues. Lying about why I can’t make it out for a night with friends or why I have to get off the phone.

Now, I know some of y’all are saying, “I don’t lie about big shit, only when it is a lil white lie.” Girl, you lie when it’s convenient, it’s still a lie, now have a seat. Whether it was lying by omission, not sharing the entire truth or just flat out flipping the script so that you still presented to others in the way you wish to be perceived, it’s still a lie. Just like me, in the past, lying served a real purpose. I was vying for the acceptance and validation from my peers and family members. But today, I’m like fuck it. This is who I am and its either you grow closer to me or we respect each other from a distance. This isn’t about me living my life to keep other people happy, this is about me resting peacefully at night. I will not have disturbed sleep, worrying about if such and such is going to figure out if I lied or not. Newsflash girl, they already know!!!!

And to bring this back full circle,  for the gays, let me put it to you this way. I don’t care how many pairs of Balenciaga’s you don’t really own, if your Goyard luggage is really a Faux-yard, or that you were seen purchasing knock-off Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers from downtown Brooklyn. No one cares. This is all an illusion. An illusion that you have constructed to impress folks with a false image, rather than an unmasked version of who you really are. As we exclaim how we are rooting for everybody Black, I am rooting for everybody Black and Gay to live their best life as their most authentic self. We owe nothing to one. We have to allow our selves to walk in our truth by not allowing the foolishness of others to hold us back.

As always, bring your ideas and thoughts, let’s have a civil conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts. Emphasis on “civil,” because the block game is S T R O N G. Now, I’m not telling y’all to call out folks when you see things aren’t adding up. Allow them to struggle in their own journey, give them the support they need without shaming them. With that note, I’m off. Find me on Instagram @TheCarterReport and Tumblr and Twitter @TheCarterReport, I am always interested in hearing about what you all what to hear about.

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A Complete Guide On How to Reduce School-Related Stress

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Studying while working is stressful. Are you worried that your school work-related stress will affect your productivity at work? Use these tips to reduce it.

 

Tips on How to Reduce School-related Stress

Did you know that you could engage in your daily activities at work without having to worry about your schoolwork? Stress is a common aspect that affects most of the people in different ways depending on the situation. Of course, there are events that happen beyond your control, and expectations that you may fail to achieve. This article offers reliable tips on how to manage stress resulting from schoolwork.

How to overcome stressing over the school while working

For most people, the largest percentage of such stress is schoolwork-related. It is a fact that the number of people working while studying is large. Thus, besides having extracurricular activities to attend, and a social life to enjoy, you also have to study and do homework, while at the same time working hard to remain sane. At times, when you cannot turn either way due to workload, it is hard to imagine how you will make it through the week. Despite it being inevitable to avoid stress, you can adopt a few approaches to manage it effectively. Here are a few tips to consider:

Create an effective study schedule

It is an undeniable fact that writing academic assignments is involving and energy-draining. Nevertheless, you cannot do without assignments in school. It is important to come up with a plan to guide you on what you should accomplish regarding your home tasks. Include timelines into your schedule, as it will help you focus on each part of the plan. A study schedule makes it possible to avoid procrastination, as well as ensures that you do not have to worry that you have no time for studies. Additionally, you will get some incredible relief when you start crossing off a few items from your schedule.

Reserve enough free time for yourself

The more time you spend on your studies, the more you will get stressed. Having some time alone or with the family, colleagues, etc., will not only make you happier, but also give you some time off regular stressors. Some people make a mistake of trying to use any short break they have at work to study. Despite having much work, you still need your social life and a healthy body –do not strain yourself in the name of achieving both your school and work goals.

Avoid talks on stress

It is hard to avoid talks about grades, as well as the amount of work one has to do. It also becomes tempting to talk to your friends and family members about how your schoolwork and work duties are stressing you. Do you get any relief by talking about your workload? If anything, you get only more stressed as your colleagues and family members may tend to distance themselves from you. The best thing to do in such a case is to start avoiding talks that revolve around your stress, and with time, you will learn how to overcome such conditions.

Seek help with your assignments

It is advisable, however hard it might be, to admit that sometimes we cannot do a thing on our own. If you stay in a cocoon of confusion and helplessness, you risk ending up more anxious and stressed. Seek clarification and help from your instructor if there is anything that you do not understand. Are you struggling with your academic assignments? You can contact cheap-essay.com for reliable help from professional academic assignment writers who have the appropriate experience and skills to deal with any type and level of academic assignment.

Do not involve yourself in tasks that you cannot handle

It is naturally human to be unable to say no. In spite of this, there comes a time when you should do it to avoid stress. As such, it is recommendable to strike a reasonable balance between issues that you can handle, as well as your ability to handle your workload, whether at school or at the workplace. For example, it would not be wise to agree to a weekend out when you know you had set aside that weekend to clear a pile of pending work.

Do not allow anything to depress you

Did you know that we play a major role in the stress we have each day? Usually, it is important to avoid playing along to stressing events. If you panic, organize yourself back to reality by assuring yourself that you have a life to live and get your feelings in context.

Stress is inevitable at times, especially when you have to attend to workplace duties and schoolwork within pressing deadlines. Without a clear plan, you may find yourself with too much to do at a very limited time such that you will not know where to begin. However, if you create a schedule with a lot of focus on your timelines, seek help when you need it, and avoid stressors, you will have easy time both at work and with your studies.

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What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed

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School, jobs, relationships, socializing. All of these can cause stress when not managed well. For me, this past week was the hardest. I had to juggle multiple assignments due on the same day, homecoming, and having to go to work. I was exhausted. I felt like I had no energy to do anything. Knowing me I love talking and texting my friends, and last week I didn’t do any of that. Things I love doing like posting on my blog and writing for the paper were dreaded and ignored. I had no energy to do anything and was just waiting for the week to be over.

While it’s normal to be stressed we shouldn’t let it ruin our week. We need to own it and accept it as part of the process, but not let it control us. Here are five things we can do to help us make stress our bitch.

EXERCISE

I know what you’re thinking, “Chile if I don’t have time for the stuff I HAVE to do what makes you think I have time workout?” Well working out has multiple benefits. Not only does it help us get a sickening body, but it also releases endorphins that produce positive feelings in the body. Notice how you always feel good after a workout? According to WebMD, exercising “reduces stress, wards off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem, and improves sleep.” Next time you’re feeling stressed take out all of your frustration in the gym.

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is getting more recognition outside of the spiritual community for its benefits for those with anxiety. You don’t have to be a monk or go to a sacred temple to practice mindfulness. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. Being mindful can help lower your stress levels, increase attention and focus, make you feel calm, and so much more. In order to be mindful, all you have to do is focus on your breathing. You can do this while walking, eating, taking a shower, or whenever you have free time. It only takes 5 minutes to drastically change your day.

GRATITUDE

Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” When the hustle and bustle of life get to you it’s hard to just settle down and be grateful for what you have. At the end of the day write down three things that you were grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be as simple as waking up that morning. You will feel so good thinking about all of the great things that happened to you that day. It will be a positive way to end your day.

JOURNALING

Writing in a journal is so liberating. You are able to get all of your thoughts out on paper and feel a sense of clarity right after. Journaling has been proven to improve memory and comprehension, spark creativity, and communication skills. Most people struggle with journaling because they feel like it has to be done consistently. Journaling is for YOU. There are no rules for how you should go about it. Write when you feel like it so that it doesn’t feel forced. If you feel stuck there are plenty of journals prompts on Pinterest you can try. I find that the most interesting part of journaling is looking back at your old entries and seeing how much you’ve grown from a situation.

TALK TO A LOVE ONE

“Reginae call your daddy!” No, but seriously, talking to a loved one will help you put things into perspective and make you realize that there are bigger things in this world than what you’re stressing about. Talking to a friend is the perfect distraction from your situation. By venting to someone you are able to sort out your feelings and feel calm. No matter how overwhelmed you are you know that you have the love and support of those you care about the most.

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed know that “this too shall pass.” Break down your tasks into sections and prioritize the list from “most to least important.” Use the tips I talked about and know that you got this. You will be okay. It happens to all of us.

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