As I exhale, overlooking a swimming pool, in the heavy Jamaican heat, I am reminded that I have never taken a trip like this before— a trip during which I am supposed to just breathe. My wellness—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual—is the focus.
Over the past four years, BlackFemaleProject has documented the impacts of workplace oppression on Black women’s mental health. Typical work stress can be exacerbated by the demands of navigating racism and sexism in the workplace, all combined with the challenges presented in other areas of life. Although Black women’s mental health has become a topic of conversation in some national circles, we understand it to be a still-underemphasized and critical component for coping; finding ways to deal with stress and making healthy choices is necessary if we want to survive and thrive.
BlackFemaleProject research has led me to many places, but this much-needed stress management experience coming as a result of that research is unique.
The inaugural Black Women’s Wellness Retreat, led by Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Cathia Walters-Knight and her team, is focused on providing Black women with a week away from family, work, and other responsibilities in the form of and intergenerational learning community, convened on the beautiful and healing land of Runaway Bay, Jamaica. The week was full of good company, three healthy meals a day, time in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, sound sleep, and new experiences with dance, hiking, and yoga. I left the retreat refreshed, armed with a toolbox full of new ways to identify my emotions, strategies to better manage stress, and information on topics ranging from naturopathic medicine to wealth acquisition. Dr. Walters-Knight’s team curated a well-rounded and truly fulfilling week for Black women; everything from start to finish catered to my specific needs. The time was rejuvenating, inspiring, memory-making, and spirit-elevating.
Click here to listen to a preview of an upcoming podcast episode during which Dr. Walters-Knight talks about the impetus for the Jamaican-based getaway.
Learn even more about Dr. Walters-Knight at www.drwaltersknight.com.
Submitted by: Precious J. Stroud