A voter takes advantage of the DCCC's "Cycle of Engagement Initiative" which provides greater access to voting for people of color. (Courtesy of DCCC)
Courtesy of DCCC

A new national poll heading into the election season found that Black women voters made up a demographic of particularly eager voters.  In addition to being anxious to cast their votes in the 2022 midterm elections, they approached the ballot box as a means of toppling concerns over rising food, housing, and medical care costs.  But while running to the polls, that same energy is not being expensed on caring for themselves. 

Chronic stressors have been associated with Black women developing disproportionate cases of mental and physical ailments and diseases.  The Soujorner syndrome and the Superwoman Schema (SWS) concepts are used to explain the phenomenon of early onset of morbidity among African American women in response to persistent chronic stress and active coping associated with meeting day-to-day demands and having multiple caregiver roles.

In the shadows of Black Girl Day Off — yes, it is a bona fide national holiday – (held Oct. 11), few Black women recognize the stressors that are leading to their burnout.  Black Girl Day Off, recognized annually on the day after World Mental Health Day, was designated “to encourage Black women to take a mental day off to focus on their emotional well-being.”

“A day like Black Girl Day Off brings awareness to the ‘Superhuman’ ideals that come with being a ‘Strong Black Woman,’ which is an expectation/stereotype/assumption that many women of color have to continue to perform because of pressures to manage several roles,” Valessa Gray, assistant director of counseling and diversity and inclusion initiatives for Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services told The Athens Post.  “Having multiple marginalized identities increases the likelihood of experiencing day-to-day stressors.”

Irrespective of the election outcomes, the time has come for Black women to vote on themselves by setting necessary boundaries and achievable goals before crafting those New Year’s resolutions for 2023.  Some things require immediate attention.  Stress is not new among Black people – particularly Black women who traditionally lumber themselves with the burdens of their households, families, jobs, and larger society.  What can be different going forward, is turning off the mobile phone, disconnecting from the world around you, and casting a ballot for your own well-being. 

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