The Black community, in particular, has faced a double-edged sword when it comes to remaining strong and putting their own needs at the forefront of their lives. More recently, Black business owners, in particular, are often put on the back-burner when it comes to prioritizing self-care, rest, and habits that are necessary for them to thrive as leaders. In addition, the needs of Black business owners are of the utmost importance especially when it comes to building a healthy and successful empire for others to follow. Simply put, if we are not at our best mentally, physically, and spiritually, how can we begin to serve the needs of others, and therefore, begin to create healthier relationships that are all based on our relationship with ourselves?
According to a recent Quickbooks study, 54% of Black respondents have stated that the pandemic was the main reason that caused them to place their mental health as a key priority, while also disclosing that a third of Black business owners say that they cannot prioritize self-care as much as they would like to. In a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Quickbooks, TV personality and actress, Tracee Ellis Ross, disclosed that self-care is more than just getting a massage, but is rather, a way of life that you actively choose to participate in.
“Self-care is not just about getting a massage. Yes, that could be part of it – but that’s not the only way self-care looks. It’s a personal thing. For me, for example, remembering to eat is self-care. I have a tendency to go past that but for me, that’s knowing that I am important. There’s no way for me to match the output with the input with my life, but I know if I can do the small things, that goes a long way,” said Tracee Ellis Ross during the Roundtable discussion.
She added, “This hasn’t been an easy journey…particularly as an entrepreneur and CEO…it’s a process, and requires support.”
With support being a vital aspect within our overall growth, wellness, and development as a people, why is reaching out for support practically like putting an iron brand down our throats? Why is support such a hard thing for us to not only seek, but to aspire for as we continue to navigate success through an ongoing pandemic?
“It feels like we are sort of used to the exhaustion. We're trying to realize that the old, “before the pandemic,” is not coming back and what does this new experience look like. Tracee added. “If you can be gentle and loving with yourself by giving yourself those necessary breaks of being a human being, I think it makes life more compassionate with yourself and others because we're all human beings kind of trying to just figure things out.”
For Tracee, self-care has always been viewed through the eyes of becoming. Ultimately learning that as a Black woman in America, it can be hard to show up truly as yourself when the world has already paved images of how Black women are and should transcribe to be. Tracee’s ongoing journey of becoming has not only made her one of the most successful CEOs within the beauty space as it pertains to her haircare line, Pattern Beauty, but also, as a woman who’s inspired others to just be themselves.
“I feel like the journey of growing up for me has been mostly about becoming myself and that started with the process of learning who I was. It was very uncomfortable in the beginning. When I first started auditioning for roles, I couldn't figure out how to be myself, the person that I was in my room, and in front of other people. I gave myself a small exercise. I took deep breaths in those moments and decided not to strive for perfection by just being who I was, it took a very long time to get to this point.”
When it comes to prioritizing our mental, physical, and spiritual health as Black women, it can sometimes be hard to really hone in on giving back to ourselves with the weight of the world on our shoulders. As CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and business owners, our brands can only speak for themselves, but only if we take the time to also care for our needs just as much as we care for the needs of others.