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Tia Color

Ready to write off 2020? We get it, fam. The struggle has been real. Seriously, who would’ve thought the world would experience a pandemic, wildfires, and a wild presidential election all in one year? Not us. Before you fast-forward to 2021, though, consider this: nothing can stop Black joy. Despite everything going on at the moment, remember what the Pulitzer-winning lyricist, Kendrick Lamar once said: “We gon’ be alright.”

That said, it’s time to finish 2020 on a high note. For real, just because you’re kicking it at the crib all day doesn’t mean you can’t still live your best life. Taking extra care of yourself and your mental health is always a good idea no matter the times — and it’s especially important as the year winds down. At One Yard, we believe there is no better time than now to adopt a few subtle, yet meaningful ways to improve our outlook and uplift those around us. That’s why we tapped Tia Brown, a licensed therapist at Ready Set Grow and Urban One’s Senior Director of Content Development & Production, for advice on how to find joy in these uncertain times. Read on to find the Howard alum’s top 4 tips on looking after your mental health in 2020 and beyond. Let’s get it!

Level up your self-care routine

Make time in your schedule to look after yourself by implementing stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or cooking. Personally, Tia’s favorite stress reliever is walking. “I’m much happier when I have an opportunity to walk, say a mile or so a day, so I try to fit that in either in the morning or the evening,” she shares. Try out a couple of things like journaling or watching a funny movie (another one of Tia’s pastimes) to figure out what brings you joy — and indulge in them guilt-free. Do whatever you need to do for yourself and your mental health. Your body will thank you for it.

Embrace Your Blessings

No matter your circumstances, we all are blessed in one way or another. Embrace your blessings. Secured your dream job this year? Started your own business? Accomplished a personal goal? Go you! “Never, never regret having success. As long as you’re doing it healthily and happily, embrace it, enjoy it,” Tia says. Seeing how tough this year is for many folks, you may be wary of celebrating your wins, but don’t be. Tia suggests being sensitive about how you speak about it, depending on your audience and the people you’re around. “If you are in safe spaces with friends [or family] who can feel happy for you, then it’s okay to celebrate it there. If not, be okay celebrating it with yourself, giving yourself treats, or giving yourself a little incentive and reward,” she says.

Celebrate yourself and the beauty of Blackness

Sure, big life moments like Homecoming may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun as a community. “It’s important for us not to allow hard times, crazy times, a pandemic, racial inequity, healthcare, to rob us of all the moments that are important in our lives,” Tia stresses. Homecoming is the pride and joy of HBCUs, and it’s essential to continue the legendary tradition, even if it’s virtual. “Homecomings are a moment for us annually to remember experiences that we had at our school, to celebrate [Black] history [and] our legacy, to reconnect with those who supported us, [and] to stay connected and support the institution that helped shape our lives,” Tia emphasizes. Black excellence stops for nothin’ so celebrate yourself and the beauty of Blackness all day, every day.

Turn up in your own way

In light of the pandemic, many of us have to start working from home and cut back on social gatherings to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. As a result, you might have had to cancel some of your plans you’ve been looking forward to, like your annual girl’s trip abroad or weekly Sunday Brunch with your brothers. Despite these changes, that doesn’t mean you can’t still live your best life. Maybe you can’t have a huge birthday party this year, but you could have a socially-distanced hang out with all of your faves instead until things return to some semblance of normal. “There are cycles in life, and it’s okay to say something great happened, but maybe I can’t do the thing that I used to do, but I’m so appreciative that I had an opportunity to celebrate in that way then, and I’m going to celebrate in this way now,” Tia says.

If isolation has been getting to you mentally, these four quick tips can help you cope. At the end of the day, while things might not be so rosy at the moment, nobody and nothing can ever steal your shine. You got this!