Quantcast

These Entrepreneurs Are Making Space For Creating While Prioritizing Mental Health

Some of us are taking this opportunity of time and space by the reins.

Human Interest

During my time in quarantine, I've noticed that it's been a bit on the difficult side of the spectrum to develop consistent content when all I hear is "coronavirus this" and "COVID-19 that" all over the news and in the blogs.

As a journalist and creative, I've had tons of conversations with my fellow creative friends and realized that the pandemic is pushing us out of our comfort zone to think outside of the box for content aside from popular Tik Tok challenges and #QuarantineBae hashtag followings.

While some of us may be struggling and holding onto our creativity by our edges, some are taking this opportunity of time and space by the reins.

The Art of Ebb and Flow

Others are taking life day-by-day and allowing their ideas and inspiration to blossom naturally. "I've really allowed my creativity to ebb and flow naturally. I think the goal should be to prioritize balance and to lean into your own timing, without allowing the pressure to produce constantly consume you," Imani Ellis, founder of CultureCon and the Creative Collective NYC, shares with xoNecole. With the stay-at-home orders here in New York City, Ellis has been able to take full advantage by kickstarting a new program for The CCNYC. "I'm really proud of the Creative Curriculum virtual workshop series we launched recently. It allows creatives from our community to teach tangible skills from the comfort of their couch and it's been inspiring to see that we're still staying connected, especially during such daunting times."

YouTube Is Your Bestie

Actress and fellow creative Andrea Lewis turns to technology and app recommendations to keep her creative skills sharpen and on-point during quarantine. "Idillionaire App is one of my favorites for reminding me to be grateful and giving you positivity updates everyday. But I always recommend using Skillshare and YouTube to learn anything you want!" shares the filmmaker, Degrassi alumna and Toronto-born entertainer. "Especially in this time, when most people are looking to make some changes to either their careers or themselves, both of these sites can give you the best quick education that you need. I go to YouTube for everything."

Andrea also encourages creatives to not succumb to the pressure of joining other social media platforms if they aren't in your niche lane. "I encouraged most of my friends to stick to the work that they've already been working on. Further develop the scripts you've already started writing, edit the videos that you've been sitting on, just sit and daydream about the type of work you want to create right now but don't feel pressure to release it tomorrow. Maintain the audience that you already have, because just like you, they aren't going anywhere so don't feel the pressures of needing to hustle while being in the middle of a PANDEMIC!"

Keep Your Juices Flowing

For a lot of us, as the days roll by, they begin to blend together more times than none. Keeping organized and being on top of your daily tasks is an integral part of remaining sane and staying on top of your creative game. When it comes to allowing your creative juices to flow, award-winning millennial tech speaker, consultant and artist Alex Wolf has the perfect remedy. "Some of my favorite things to do to keep my creative juices flowing are listening to Ari Lennox, opening up all my Pinterest boards on my desktop computer (versus my laptop), go online window shopping, text my random ideas to my group chats," shares the Creative Business School founder.

During the stay-at-home order circling the nation, Wolf has even successfully developed a new program for her online platform. "[During this time,] I think I'm most proud of the audience calculator we made for my online education platform, Creative Business School," she shares. "The calculator is 100% free and for creators who are starting to realize trying to get a million followers just to make pennies from AdShare is not enough. You pop five answers in and it shows you how much extra money you could be making if you converted only 1% of your audience by selling your own product. I haven't met a creative that takes it and isn't shocked about what's possible for them."

Have a Good Balance

Alex Wolf has been on top of her creative game, but what about the rest of us who may feel pressure to overwork ourselves because we're not keeping up with the other accomplishments and dope things we see on Instagram? "To avoid overworking, on Sundays when I set up my week, I always give myself days I set aside for work and days I set aside for relaxing, you have to have a good balance," says social media influencer and YouTuber Tyla-Lauren Gilmore. She also shares her tips and tricks to avoiding laziness and keeping your work ethic strong. "To avoid underworking I'm constantly on Pinterest and YouTube looking for inspiration to keep me motivated to create."

Take a Pause

I don't know about you ladies, but this pandemic is a time to practice stillness and being OK with resting instead of creating at every single second of the day. On-air talent and podcast host of Black Girl Podcast Gia Peppers says, "All in all, this is a traumatic time. Give yourself grace to take a moment to be, instead of always having to do. I've used a lot of this time [so far] to check in with myself. I've been doing a lot of meditating, praying, and reconfiguring parts of myself I may have ignored during busier seasons in my life."

During this time, the VH1's Black Girl Beauty host shares that she has been giving herself time and navigating how and what she wants to create. "I want to make sure I'm not rushing the dream God has for me, and for any creatives who feel the same, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a creative process that develops from the inside out. Take the pause you need to, if you need it. Your future self will thank you. Pausing is an absolute privilege that I am aware that I have."

Recenter and Take a Moment

Kéla Walker has been in quarantine under stay-at-home orders like the rest of us, but has a different outlook on the idea of being forced to create content under pressure. "I don't think it's forcing creatives to create more content so much as it's forcing us back to our roots, back to the basics [and] remember why we became creatives," the seven-time Emmy-nominated media maven enlightens xoNecole, "Allowing us to tap into that creative center to produce and leverage our skills, and now do more with less. It's also pushed me to create more content to help and encourage others."

When it comes to her own content development, Walker says it's all about recentering. "My mind has been all over the place since being at home for this extended period of time. One minute I'm working on something and then the next I feel like something else deserves my attention. It's like I'm being pulled in multiple directions, going nowhere fast. That's when I have to just take a moment to pause and recenter."

Featured image via @tylauren/Instagram

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.

This is Maya's story, written by Charmin Michelle.

I know this may come to a surprise so many, but here we are. Yes, I got a BBL. If you aren't aware, a BBL is a Brazilian Butt Lift, a cosmetic surgery process where the doctor uses a combination of liposuction and fat-grafting, transfers the fat into the butt, resulting in added volume, defined curves, and a lift. It is technically lipo and a fat transfer. But yeah girl, this has been on my to-do list for a while. And now that I am able to afford it, I went for it.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

The season I look forward to the most every year is Resort. Even if you haven't had an opportunity to enjoy a proper getaway this season, now is the time to get your last-minute plans in order as the final moments of summer quickly come to an end. While you can always find a sunny destination to travel any time of the year, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the final warm weather looks before fall inventory completely takes over.

Keep reading... Show less

It's still the early stages of this so-called post-pandemic life, and with graduates finally entering the workforce or taking their next steps toward true adulting, many might be wondering, "Where do I start?" True, life's been a roller coaster ride, but we're here to help with a list of best cities for millennials to work.

Keep reading... Show less

Black love deserves celebration. And it deserves celebration for multiple reasons. Because of our history, love for each other has been a necessity to survive. By choosing each other, we literally do it for the culture by continuing folklore and manifestations of our human intellectual achievements. Our genetic makeup has always been grounded in resilience — the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and toughness. Black love creates balance, space, growth, and change making for a fundamental part of our identities.

Keep reading... Show less

Adulting is hard but packing up and moving from one living space to the next is even harder. As a young adult, leaving home to attend college 300 miles away, I was yearning for a change of scenery so much so I couldn't wait to pack my belongings and head to sunny southern California. With each transition, it wasn't an easy task, however, nine years and 10 roommates later, I finally have a place to call my own. As liberating as it is to be in a space that's all mine, this move is unlike any other. As a single woman, the responsibility of uprooting myself has been more challenging than I ever imagined. More than just saving dreamy home decor inspiration via Pinterest, making "my house a home" has been a process that's easier said than done.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Find Confidence With This Summer Workout Created By A Black Woman For Black Women

Tone & Sculpt trainer Danyele Wilson makes fitness goals attainable.

Latest Posts