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Defining My Cultural Identity in such a Mixed World

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Defining My Cultural Identity in such a Mixed World

Us Millennials are the future, malady but we are stressed as fuck. But I guess it’s no surprise when we’ve been hit with huge post-uni debt whilst juggling unpaid internships, order zero-hours contracts and extortionate rent prices. Lack of help and money means we are struggling to buy or even rent a property and to make matters worse, our lives are under constant comparison and scrutiny on social media.

“Adulting” can often leave us feeling pessimistic, jealous, uninspired and even depressed. These issues may seem like generalisations, but if you also take into account the struggles minorities face with race, sexuality, gender and disability, it can all seem too much and many of us burn out as a result.

That is what happened to me last year. I suffered a mental breakdown and had no idea how to look after myself besides taking medication. After I was diagnosed with anxiety and stress disorders and depression during at uni, I made a conscious decision to go on a personal ‘self-care journey’.

I quickly learned that it is not selfish to focus on your wellbeing and a key part of ending the stigma around mental health is finding ways to encourage self-care practices, which can help open up a healthy discussion about our minds, emotions and feelings. Here are my tips:

Relaxing/feel-good playlists

selfcare1

 

Turn up that Gospel, dance around to Afrobeats or cheesy 90s songs – whatever makes you happy because listening to songs that you love can make a big difference to your mood. I recently set my alarm to ‘Smooth Criminal’ and basically moonwalk myself into a good mood every morning. For ultimate relaxation, try music with no lyrics (e.g. orchestral/instrumental).

Pamper

selfcare2

 

Facemasks, nail polish, magazines, bubble baths, candles… we all know these little luxuries do a world of good. Keep a vanity box stocked up with all these things and then treat yourself every month. Go on, you deserve it.

Fresh air

selfcare3

 

Go for a walk on your own or with a pal and don’t take your earphones. You’ll be more aware of your surroundings. The sounds of everyday life passing you by can stir up an array of thoughts and emotions – try it!

Sleep

selfcare4

 

You NEED at least 6 to 8 hours sleep – fact. When you are not well-rested, you are prone to being agitated, unprepared, anxious and therefore unproductive. Early nights don’t make you boring!

Detox

selfcare5

 

Both digital and physical: unsubscribe from annoying newsletters emails, un-follow (or mute) uninspiring Twitter/Instagram accounts. Drink lots of water (stick a wedge of lemon in it) and be mindful about what you’re putting into your body.

Find a “safe space”

selfcare6

 

A support system where you can talk about anything and everything. I have WhatsApp groups with my best friends, a Feminist group on Facebook and amazing intern pals who I meet up with a few times a month. There is no judgment, no shame in expressing your views and mutual respect. Even chatting to strangers who might be in the same boat as you on Big White Wall can also help.

Alone time

selfcare7

 

We fear this because we don’t want to look lonely. But this is a great time to figure yourself out. Make lists, goals, plans. READ, write, pick up that hobby you dropped in high school and learn to be comfortable in your own company. This is the final hurdle in the self-love journey as well as self-care.

Exercise

selfcare8

 

It might seem obvious, but taking up a sport or attending gym classes is good for both our minds and bodies. I took up spinning, which is intense, but keeps me fit and also feeling good due to all the endorphins released during the workouts.

Be selective of who you spend time with

selfcare9

 

Stop hanging out with “friends” who don’t support/care about you – it’s harmful.

After my diagnosis, I rapidly got rid of the people in my life who I hung out with for convenience. It was painful, but a year on, it was the best thing I ever did. I also delete people on my Facebook who I wouldn’t ask out for a coffee.

You, yes YOU are a beautiful human being and deserve to be in healthy relationships and friendships.

Health apps 

selfcare10

My favourite is Calm.com, along with this gif that calms anxiety attacks when I sync my breathing with it. Superbetter, Prune or Pigment (IOS and Android) are all for de-stressing. If you want to give your eyes a rest from screens, take yourself offline with an adult colouring book, mind-training puzzles and Origami.

 

Joelle A. Owusu is the author of poetry collection, ‘Otherness’ – her personal diary she published to encourage people to open up about mental health. Available on Amazon HERE.
Us Millennials are the future, click but we are stressed as fuck. But I guess it’s no surprise when we’ve been hit with huge post-uni debt whilst juggling unpaid internships, this web zero-hours contracts and extortionate rent prices. Lack of help and money means we are struggling to buy or even rent a property and to make matters worse, shop our lives are under constant comparison and scrutiny on social media.

“Adulting” can often leave us feeling pessimistic, jealous, uninspired and even depressed. These issues may seem like generalisations, but if you also take into account the struggles minorities face with race, sexuality, gender and disability, it can all seem too much and many of us burn out as a result.

That is what happened to me last year. I suffered a mental breakdown and had no idea how to look after myself besides taking medication. After I was diagnosed with anxiety and stress disorders and depression during at uni, I made a conscious decision to go on a personal ‘self-care journey’.

I quickly learned that it is not selfish to focus on your wellbeing and a key part of ending the stigma around mental health is finding ways to encourage self-care practices, which can help open up a healthy discussion about our minds, emotions and feelings. Here are my tips:

Relaxing/feel-good playlists

selfcare1

 

Turn up that Gospel, dance around to Afrobeats or cheesy 90s songs – whatever makes you happy because listening to songs that you love can make a big difference to your mood. I recently set my alarm to ‘Smooth Criminal’ and basically moonwalk myself into a good mood every morning. For ultimate relaxation, try music with no lyrics (e.g. orchestral/instrumental).

Pamper

selfcare2

 

Facemasks, nail polish, magazines, bubble baths, candles… we all know these little luxuries do a world of good. Keep a vanity box stocked up with all these things and then treat yourself every month. Go on, you deserve it.

Fresh air

selfcare3

Go for a walk on your own or with a pal and don’t take your earphones. You’ll be more aware of your surroundings. The sounds of everyday life passing you by can stir up an array of thoughts and emotions – try it!

Sleep

selfcare4

You NEED at least 6 to 8 hours sleep – fact. When you are not well-rested, you are prone to being agitated, unprepared, anxious and therefore unproductive. Early nights don’t make you boring!

Detox

selfcare5

Both digital and physical: unsubscribe from annoying newsletters emails, un-follow (or mute) uninspiring Twitter/Instagram accounts. Drink lots of water (stick a wedge of lemon in it) and be mindful about what you’re putting into your body.

Find a “safe space”

selfcare6

A support system where you can talk about anything and everything. I have WhatsApp groups with my best friends, a Feminist group on Facebook and amazing intern pals who I meet up with a few times a month. There is no judgment, no shame in expressing your views and mutual respect. Even chatting to strangers who might be in the same boat as you on Big White Wall can also help.

Alone time

selfcare7

We fear this because we don’t want to look lonely. But this is a great time to figure yourself out. Make lists, goals, plans. READ, write, pick up that hobby you dropped in high school and learn to be comfortable in your own company. This is the final hurdle in the self-love journey as well as self-care.

Exercise

selfcare8

It might seem obvious, but taking up a sport or attending gym classes is good for both our minds and bodies. I took up spinning, which is intense, but keeps me fit and also feeling good due to all the endorphins released during the workouts.

Be selective of who you spend time with

selfcare9

Stop hanging out with “friends” who don’t support/care about you – it’s harmful.

After my diagnosis, I rapidly got rid of the people in my life who I hung out with for convenience. It was painful, but a year on, it was the best thing I ever did. I also delete people on my Facebook who I wouldn’t ask out for a coffee.

You, yes YOU are a beautiful human being and deserve to be in healthy relationships and friendships.

Health apps 

selfcare10

My favourite is Calm.com, along with this gif that calms anxiety attacks when I sync my breathing with it. Superbetter, Prune or Pigment (IOS and Android) are all for de-stressing. If you want to give your eyes a rest from screens, take yourself offline with an adult colouring book, mind-training puzzles and Origami.

 

Joelle A. Owusu is the author of poetry collection, ‘Otherness’ – her personal diary she published to encourage people to open up about mental health. Available on Amazon HERE.
Us Millennials are the future, purchase but we are stressed as fuck. But I guess it’s no surprise when we’ve been hit with huge post-uni debt whilst juggling unpaid internships, ask zero-hours contracts and extortionate rent prices. Lack of help and money means we are struggling to buy or even rent a property and to make matters worse, shop our lives are under constant comparison and scrutiny on social media.

“Adulting” can often leave us feeling pessimistic, jealous, uninspired and even depressed. These issues may seem like generalisations, but if you also take into account the struggles minorities face with race, sexuality, gender and disability, it can all seem too much and many of us burn out as a result.

That is what happened to me last year. I suffered a mental breakdown and had no idea how to look after myself besides taking medication. After I was diagnosed with anxiety and stress disorders and depression during at uni, I made a conscious decision to go on a personal ‘self-care journey’.

I quickly learned that it is not selfish to focus on your wellbeing and a key part of ending the stigma around mental health is finding ways to encourage self-care practices, which can help open up a healthy discussion about our minds, emotions and feelings. Here are my tips:

Relaxing/feel-good playlists

selfcare1

Turn up that Gospel, dance around to Afrobeats or cheesy 90s songs – whatever makes you happy because listening to songs that you love can make a big difference to your mood. I recently set my alarm to ‘Smooth Criminal’ and basically moonwalk myself into a good mood every morning. For ultimate relaxation, try music with no lyrics (e.g. orchestral/instrumental).

Pamper

selfcare2

 

Facemasks, nail polish, magazines, bubble baths, candles… we all know these little luxuries do a world of good. Keep a vanity box stocked up with all these things and then treat yourself every month. Go on, you deserve it.

Fresh air

selfcare3

Go for a walk on your own or with a pal and don’t take your earphones. You’ll be more aware of your surroundings. The sounds of everyday life passing you by can stir up an array of thoughts and emotions – try it!

Sleep

selfcare4

You NEED at least 6 to 8 hours sleep – fact. When you are not well-rested, you are prone to being agitated, unprepared, anxious and therefore unproductive. Early nights don’t make you boring!

Detox

selfcare5

Both digital and physical: unsubscribe from annoying newsletters emails, un-follow (or mute) uninspiring Twitter/Instagram accounts. Drink lots of water (stick a wedge of lemon in it) and be mindful about what you’re putting into your body.

Find a “safe space”

selfcare6

A support system where you can talk about anything and everything. I have WhatsApp groups with my best friends, a Feminist group on Facebook and amazing intern pals who I meet up with a few times a month. There is no judgment, no shame in expressing your views and mutual respect. Even chatting to strangers who might be in the same boat as you on Big White Wall can also help.

Alone time

selfcare7

We fear this because we don’t want to look lonely. But this is a great time to figure yourself out. Make lists, goals, plans. READ, write, pick up that hobby you dropped in high school and learn to be comfortable in your own company. This is the final hurdle in the self-love journey as well as self-care.

Exercise

selfcare8

It might seem obvious, but taking up a sport or attending gym classes is good for both our minds and bodies. I took up spinning, which is intense, but keeps me fit and also feeling good due to all the endorphins released during the workouts.

Be selective of who you spend time with

selfcare9

Stop hanging out with “friends” who don’t support/care about you – it’s harmful.

After my diagnosis, I rapidly got rid of the people in my life who I hung out with for convenience. It was painful, but a year on, it was the best thing I ever did. I also delete people on my Facebook who I wouldn’t ask out for a coffee.

You, yes YOU are a beautiful human being and deserve to be in healthy relationships and friendships.

Health apps 

selfcare10

My favourite is Calm.com, along with this gif that calms anxiety attacks when I sync my breathing with it. Superbetter, Prune or Pigment (IOS and Android) are all for de-stressing. If you want to give your eyes a rest from screens, take yourself offline with an adult colouring book, mind-training puzzles and Origami.

 

Joelle A. Owusu is the author of poetry collection, ‘Otherness’ – her personal diary she published to encourage people to open up about mental health. Available on Amazon HERE.
On a Friday night in a small overheated uni room, viagra approved two fiercely argumentative law students discussed race, over a bottle of Pinot Noir. One of the girls was of Moroccan descent, but had grown up in Eastern Norway. The other, was of Angolan/Portuguese descent, but had grown up in Southern England. 

Me growing up

Despite both having a variety of cultural identities to choose from, their views on which one defined them was brutally different. One strongly believed in defining herself by her ethnic culture; the other hadn’t made up her mind, but passionately refused to view her ethnicity as her cultural identity.’

– This was the setting of a conversation that plagued me with questions of who I am and who I should be.

Like opening a greasy can of worms, and allowing the creatures to spread like mould- questions of identity, culture, race, ethnicity and nationality infiltrated my mind, and, to this day, continue to inhabit my daily thoughts. Not really White, Not truly Black, Not ethnically Portuguese, Not culturally Angolan and not legally British. Well, what am I- and more importantly, what does it mean to be any of them?

img_0025

On a late Wednesday evening (when I should’ve been prepping for a Public Law workshop) I procrastinated by watching Episode Two of ‘Black is the new Black’. It wasn’t until then, that I realised that I wasn’t the only one who felt pressured to pick one cultural identity, out of the many on offer. Nine minutes and forty-two seconds into beautifully produced documentary, Reggie Yates said something that pin-pointed what could be the root of my cultural confusion.

“You have that argument with your parents, where they scream at you and say ‘you’re not like your white friends’.

On some level they’re right- because you definitely don’t look like your white friends, but on (another) level you are (like your white friends), because you’ve grown up with the same cultural references, in the same school and with the same accent”

This couldn’t be more accurate and applicable to my younger years.

img_0024

Me at my year 11 graduation

During secondary school, whether or not my (at the time) culturally limited white peers considered me as ‘one of them’, depended on the topic of conversation, and the socially popular view of the time. For the most part, I saw no  differences between me and them. But my parents were always quick to remind me otherwise when I’d (often) get sassy with them, and (commonly) ‘mouth back’- especially my dad. Although ‘Black is the New Black’ cleared the smoke of some of my confusion, the fire still burns. So, even though I remain culturally confused, I know for certain that to say that I am a mix of all, or a selection of two, is a far too simplistic conclusion.

Perhaps I have to go through the motions of continuously questioning my identity, to finally feel exhausted with the topic, and find peace in the fact that I am a human being, and that is all I need to know.

Written by Rossana Rocas

tenthousandpieces.blogspot.co.uk

The post Defining My Cultural Identity in such a Mixed World appeared first on LAPP..

categories : PERSPECTIVES

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