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  • La'Tish Thomas

Protect Our Mental Health in the Workplace as Black Women

With Black women facing continuous struggles in the workplace, ensuring workplaces are safe and no one has to make career sacrifices in order to stay mentally healthy are more important than ever.

In keeping with the fast pace mentality of New York City and metropolitan cities alike, there seems to be this growing motivation to make those connections, land that next big deal or client, develop the newest app or program and even get those increased followers or likes for promotional boosts. Society makes us believe that not only do you have to work hard to earn money, but you have to work even harder to earn periods of time for rest and relaxation.

In speaking with my clients, friends and colleagues, they often discuss feeling constant pressure from the systems, processes, and expectations of others to prove their credibility, not to come across as the stereotypical 'angry black woman' and to look 'professional' as set out by unobtainable western beauty and societal standards. As a Black woman in the workplace, you have to be constantly aware of who you are, what you do, what you say, and what you look like, constantly walking the tightrope between being authentically you and fitting into the culture at work, because your livelihood depends on it. It’s just simply exhausting!

The balance between professional aspirations and trauma healing can be incredibly hard and taxing on our mental health. Often many black women are less likely to notice or respond if their overworked, unhappy or burnt out because a common trait is to just disconnect from ourselves. However, re-traumatization at work isn't talked about enough. Sometimes it means meeting yourself in the middle, accepting our limitations or being bold enough to pave a new way of thinking and doing.

In these moments ask yourself what you want and need right now, and then advocate for it

  • Do you need a break from work? Do you need to adjust your schedule, take time-off or use your PTO?

  • Is it time to explore therapy? Do you need peer support?

  • Are you wanting to have deep facilitated conversations about racism and pain? Can you join an affinity group or healing or support circle?

  • Do you need to stop talking about racism and pain and have permission to check out?

  • Do you want check-in text messages and phone calls from your loved ones, friends and colleagues?

  • Do you need to not respond to text messages and phone calls and go silent for a while?

Understand what you need from yourself and folks around you and then make sure you communicate it. If you identify with any of the struggles above, book your free initial consultation here: Free Initial Consult.

La’Tish M. Thomas, LCSW

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