How To Stay “Woke” Without Becoming Depressed

That moment has occurred, when things begin to click and suddenly you feel like you’ve just taken off a pair of dirty glasses that prevented you from truly seeing. Suddenly comments like, “you speak so well” or “you don’t act like most black people” begin to hit you in a spot that feels sore. As if there was an invisible bruise you never noticed until now. The term for this new sensation is “woke”. In other words, you are now aware of the ways of the world, and pretty soon will become “weary”.


Now that you are woke you might take a few routes like activism (the physical kind) or pseudo-activism (the social media kind). You may try to wake up every person around you who is still in a haze or you might keep it to yourself and move in silence. Whatever you decide to do you will find that all routes end at one revelation, the battle is never-ending and may soon find yourself experiencing some of the common “woke” emotions.

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Helplessness-Hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia
  • Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Self-blame
  • Self-doubt

Because nature demands balance, these emotions can be a warning sign and symptoms of depression (indicating a lack of balance). Taking time to assess for balance allows you to align with nature, and refreshes you to continue the good fight. When these emotions arise you must take some action to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. Here are a few ways you can combat the negative effects of race-related stress:

  • Build a support network. You are not the only person who is dealing with the stress of being more aware of race-related issues and connecting with other people with similar experiences and feelings can help you successfully navigate through them.


  • If spirituality plays an important role in your life, utilize your belief system as a way to cope with stress. This could involve connecting with others who share your spiritual beliefs, confiding in your spiritual leaders, or prayer and meditation.
  • Having a positive cultural identity and a strong sense of self is extremely helpful in dealing with race-related stress or a stereotype threat. Do your own research on your cultural group and find your own historical and positive contributions. We are not defined by oppression and there are a million reasons to be proud of who you are you just have to seek the information out. 

Remember movements are not won overnight. It took decades of work to create the Civil Rights Legislation. Don’t let moments of frustration and aggravation prevent you from wearing out before we reach the next milestone. Focusing on your mental health will help keep you healthy and strong for the long road we have ahead. 

Photo source: @chelsealovesyoga