Mental Health is actually a community effort — even if you have to create that community for yourself. Collective care sustains us during all seasons not just when anxiety and fears are running high. 

All images in this post are by Naeem

Naeem Douglas collective care #blkcreatives 1
photo credit: Naeem Douglas


Collective care is a term that we’ve learned about via The Nap Ministry. In this Medium piece by Habon Abdulle states that when it comes to activism, self and collective care is political. We believe that our existence as Black people is inherently political and we want to ensure that as a community we’re sustaining ourselves. 

Abdulle’s work defines self care and collective care this way:

Self Care is defined as activities we take to improve our daily life. That improvement can be emotional, mental, social, spiritual, or physical. Collective care means to care about members’ welfare — particularly their emotional health — as a communal responsibility of the group rather than the lone task of an individual.

As we head into the final months of the year going through Election season and still being in a pandemic, here’s how you can keep you and your people lifted during this time:

Intentional social media use + no trolling. This seems like an easy one but it’s so hard to get caught up in the news cycle. The key is to find a balance between engaging and intentionally finding the information you want to seek out. Arguing with strangers or even people you know on the Internet, may not be the best use of your energy right now. You’re gonna need all of your energy to continue living your life. 

Naeem Douglas collective care #blkcreatives 2
photo credit: Naeem Douglas

Let your people know that you’re thinking of them. And not just because things are crazy in this country right now. Let them know that you care and that you’re thinking of them in ways that work for them — call, text, sending them a book they’ve always wanted to read or a small gift, writing a letter, etc. You never know how your small act of appreciation and gratitude will help someone else feel better.

Plan a virtual/digital meet-up of your own kind. We may not be able to really meet in person but that shouldn’t stop you from creating your own gathering. Whether it’s participating in a writing challenge together, going through this Election Day Anxiety Activities guide by a psychologist, or weekly check-in over Zoom/Google Hangouts/Facetime with your people, the community you foster online can break up the monotony and anxiety in your days. Share your current emotions and feelings in these safe spaces and also leave space to have some fun and enjoy each other’s company.

Find something to laugh at. It can be ANYTHING you deem funny — send it to someone you love so that they can also laugh. We need all the reminders we can get to hold on to our joy this season.

We need all the reminders we can get to hold on to our joy this season. #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
Naeem Douglas Collective care #blkcreatives
photo: Naeem Douglas

Share a few dollars with the Creatives in your life or the ones you encounter online. Living as a professional creative can be tough during uncertain times. If you have it to spare, sending someone some bread just off the love can really help. Maybe, someone, you know who hasn’t said anything needs some help or someone that you’ve encountered online. To quote Coming To America, we love the kind of donation that folds. UberEats Cash or GrubHub giftcards can also do wonders. Give if you have it to give and help someone breathe through their day a little easier — we all deserve, right?

[All images in this post are by Naeem]

How are you taking care of your people during this crazy time?


Let us know on Twitter, Instagram,  Facebook. 

Further Reading = Salvation: Black People and Love by bell hooks. Grab it here in our Book Shop List or click below to add it to your library.