What we learned during Emotional Wellness Month

by Arcade Studios

At the beginning of the month, we started a conversation around emotional wellness to see how smoking plays a part in your routines and rituals. Our community came back with honest, raw, real responses about how smoking aids with exercise, stress, healing, and pain relief. Your stories were all gathered in our journal post here but here are some highlighted responses: 

“I’ve struggled a lot with mental illness and prescription after prescription I still couldn’t find the relief I was needing. But it wasn’t until an assault left me struggling with PTSD that I found immense relief and healing through smoking. I could sleep without nightmares, talk through my healing without panic attacks and gained back my passion to be creative and happy again. It has helped in more ways than I can count, I hope one day it will get to everyone that needs it and will be decriminalized <3.” - Becca

“I smoke every evening with my partner. We’re both cancer survivors, and it’s a nice reset at the end of the day to get us more able to deal with ongoing pain that we both have from treatments (even though they were years ago - nerve damage is a thing we deal with all day, everyday). I find it beautiful and restorative, and it helps me take some time to decompress and treat my body with care and intentionality.” - Alandis 

“I like to smoke before yoga. Helps me slow down more and connect deeper to my breath.” - Santiago 

This ongoing conversation around emotional health and wellness is something we at Laundry Day hold as a high priority. Whenever you feel a need to share your story and experience, we’re listening. We honor the journey each of you take, and are grateful that Laundry Day is part of it. 

Notes from Soft & Well with Elle Pierre 

This past month we also hosted an Instagram Live series called Soft & Well. Elle Pierre (@allthingsellepierre) held space for conversations with Black women from the creative sphere to share anecdotes, experiences, and wisdom about wellness and fluid femininity. If you didn’t tune in, here are some notes from each discussion and interview (that will hopefully inspire you to go and watch on our IG!). 

Naima Green joined Elle on October 6th, discussing how her work seeks to support ideas and imagery that concentrate on joy, people of color and leisure. They discuss misconceptions about emotional wellness, stigmas attached to black women who feel they need to always be strong, as well as how boundaries have played a big part in how Naima protects her emotional health. 

Naima shared about how there are many avenues to wellness and it doesn’t always look like yoga or meditation. It’s about whatever brings you joy. For instance, Naima likes to pull cards from a tarot deck and take baths to support her emotional wellness routine. We’re definitely going to check out her go-to tinctures and bath time favorites from @moonmotherapothecary + @goldfeather_. Find her current exhibit, Brief & Drenching, on display at Fotografiska in NYC until February 28, 2021, and check out her playing deck, Pursuit, available for purchase on her website.

Watch the full interview here. Follow Naima on Instagram @naimagreen.

Ashley Simpo talked to Elle on October 14th, who recently wrote a book inspired by conversations she had with her son about family changes when she went through a divorce, addressing questions on racism, divorce and self-esteem. Ashley shared her misconceptions around emotional wellness, the main ones being for her that something tangible like taking a bath can miss the mark for her. Rather than wellness being an event, she felt it was more about being kind to oneself, learning how to respond truthfully in moments, and do the inner work we often avoid. Part of her journey towards emotional wellness has included community, specifically people who can understand or support her in particular moments and seasons of life.

Ashley talked about how believing that “we don’t need to be taken care of in the same way” can plaque an entire demographic. Leaning into softness and asking for help has been a key component of life for her, and embracing how to accept help in new cities and communities is integral to a healthy life.

Watch the full interview here. Follow Ashley on Instagram @ashleysimpo

Leeza Joneé joined Elle on October 20th. She recently published a book of poetry titled I got these rose petals, man (titled inspired by quotes from Menace II Society!) which will be available for purchase later this year. Leeza shared her thoughts on the most common misconceptions around emotional wellness as a Black woman, saying that often “our feelings aren’t seen as valid or real, they’re just passing.” The narrative around the angry or strong black woman has been a difficult one for her growing up, and she explained how often young women’s voices are muffled, and how they’re not able to speak their minds or set boundaries, nor allowed to express anger, discomfort or desire. 

Leeza sees softness as patience, taking time with something, giving oneself grace. It’s forgiveness, and being as authentic as possible. For her, it takes work to be soft. By choosing not to be a victim, acknowledging emotions and one’s being, she can “show up soft.” We loved hearing how Leeza approaches meditation; it could be pole dancing, moving the body, or sitting in a creative act like writing or drawing. 

Watch the full interview here. Follow Leeza on Instagram @leezajonee

Asha Griffith joined Elle on October 27th for the last conversation in the Soft and Well series. Starting with a discussion around how emotional wellness is anything to keep us mentally stable, Asha shared how creating, ideating, tap dancing and writing music keeps her in a good place. The overarching theme for her is creating, however that looks, plus being around good people who can jump-start inspiration and keep her going. When it comes to finding relief from stress and anxiety, Asha talked about everything from dancing alone in her room, sex, and being in water as ways for her to release. She goes on to speak on how, unlike others, yoga and meditation haven’t been fulfilling methods of relief for her. Completing the narrative that began with Elle’s first conversation with Naima, both agreed that most people need non-traditional approaches and methods. Everyone is different when it comes to emotional wellness. 

To listen more about how gender roles show up for Asha, what it means to be seen as feminine or masculine, vulnerable and soft, and how the trope of the “angry” or “strong” black woman shows up for her, we suggest tuning in and listening to Asha’s perspective. Oh, and she might have even ended this session with a freestyle. Yeah, it was a great end to this series. 

Watch the full interview here. Follow Asha on Instagram @isthatasha.

What were the most significant takeaways you had from this month? Did you learn anything new that you’re planning on implementing into your emotional wellness rituals? We’d love to know. DM us, comment online, and let’s keep the conversation going.