After over a year of isolation, largely indoor living and ever-blurring boundaries between home and work (what is this “work-life balance” you speak of?), you’re likely in need of a little care right now. And while things may be looking brighter, warmer, and hopefully a little bit healthier, you may not know where to begin to recenter yourself after such an extended period of uncertainty. If the concept of self-care currently sounds as foreign as one of those countries you’re longing to visit, say no more, fam. We’ve got some suggestions on how to adjust your own oxygen mask, and treat yourself the way you want to be treated—all with help from Black-owned brands. After all, it’s #WellnessWednesday—and Mental Health Awareness Month. The best gifts come from the heart, so why not give yourself the gift of self-care?
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“The grass is greener where you water it,” Paper & Stylo founder Vanessa Demosthene reminds us in an Instagram post. If all of this so-called “downtime” has felt like anything but, perhaps it’s time to put pen to paper, and commit your feelings to a page in one of Paper & Stylo’s elegantly simple twill journals—and treat yourself to a color-coordinating pen. The simple act of journaling isn’t just a great creative outlet (there might even be a book in you); it can be cathartic.
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Anxiety got you feeling out of balance? Peak + Valley’s ashwagandha-infused Balance My Stress blend may be exactly what you need—and this writer can vouch for its stress-leveling effects. But don’t stop there; the mushroom and adaptation-based brand can help nourish your brain and restore your sleep, too. In fact, you can snag $10 off for choosing all three as a Wellness Collection—and isn’t wellness what we’re all hoping to maintain these days?
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If no one else has told you lately, you’re doing amazing, sweetie—yes, in spite of everything. So please, don’t let shame and trauma keep you from recognizing your own worth. You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience is an anthology of gorgeous and empathetic essays that will hopefully help you do just that. With writing from Marc Lamont Hill, Kiese Laymon, Laverne Cox, Keah Brown and more, this instant bestseller edited by Tarana Burke and shame and vulnerability expert Brené Brown might help you get to the heart of your own matter.
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It’s all there in the name, but chocolate really can have therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress and improving brain function (in moderation, of course). So, why not indulge in a little Chocolate Therapy by browsing through this Black couple-owned brand’s truffle gallery? With treats that taste as good as they look (gold dust, anyone?), you’ll also feel like you’re treating yourself.
It’s no secret that tarot had a major moment during quarantine, as many of us sought new methods of insight during an incredibly difficult time. But did you know tarot can help you cope with anxiety, too? This beautifully illustrated deck by Rachel True—yes, that Rachel True—isn’t just a pleasure to behold; her accompanying guidebook is also a memoir reflecting revelations True found through using the tarot, before and after she hit it in Hollywood. If you’re looking for a way to help you ride the inevitable waves of life, True Heart Tarot might be a welcome companion in card form.
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Let’s face it, sometimes the ideal way to unwind is with, well, wine. If you’ve been feeling out of touch with your “Black Girl Magic” (or could use some in your life) this Black women-owned brand’s varietals may help spark some joy. Join one of this vintner’s wine clubs—or better yet, their wine and book club, where you can indulge in buzzy new reads while enjoying a mellow buzz of your own.
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“Seeing ourselves as whole and healthy is an act of pure rebellion in a world so titillated by our constant subjugation,” writes author-artist-activist Natasha Marin on the dust jacket of Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures. Marin curated anthology of writing, quotes and ideas as a mechanism for her own healing after an onslaught of online abuse following her viral and aptly named online experiment, Reparations. Ideal for use as a daily devotional or much-needed but brief respite from the relentless grind, Black Imagination just might refuel yours.
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This year proved to be a big one for reconsidering what comfort feels like, and considering compassion and sustainability. Russell and Ciara Wilson’s unisex label encompasses all three principles, and you can feel as good about supporting them as you do wearing their separates; 100 percent of Human Nation’s proceeds go to the couple’s Why Not You Foundation, which empowers today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders.
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Yes, we may be fighting the “quarantine 15"—but if you’re also looking to fight anxiety and depression, exercise is the most organic remedy. Need more than a little fitspo to keep you going? How about gearing up in some vibrant designs from Sankofa Athletic Apparel? As the brand reminds us, the future is now—and while the Akan word “Sankofa” is typically used to remind us to return to the source, this label is all about future movement, building collaborations with queer African activists and clean water projects for the revered Maasai.
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In case you’ve hiding under a leaf somewhere, CBD is more than just a passing trend. Brown Girl Jane’s premium, broad-spectrum CBD-based products are non-intoxicating and “formulated with no binders, fillers, excipients, dyes or unknown substances.” They’re also vegan, meaning you can enjoy your stress-relieving gummies, tinctures and more while maintaining a plant-based life.