Finding Peace Amidst Pain: My Guide to Navigating Trauma

Nov 4, 2023

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I'm Kelley — licensed therapist, burnout expert, and host of the Black Girl Burnout podcast. I encourage black women to opt out of struggle and opt into our legacy of joy and accomplishment. Join me!

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In our fast-paced world, where news travels at the speed of light and traumatic events are broadcasted in real-time, finding peace amidst pain can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But as I discussed in a recent episode of the Black Girl Burnout podcast, it’s not only possible but essential for our well-being.

The Weight of Witnessing

My episode, “Find Peace In Times Of Pain,” was a heartfelt response to the current times. With the world witnessing heart-wrenching events, from the tragic death of George Floyd to countless other injustices, the collective trauma can be overwhelming. As I’ve always believed, “Humans are communal.” We feel deeply, not just for our immediate circle but for strangers miles away. This empathy, while a testament to our humanity, can also lead to what I term as “vicarious trauma.”

Managing Vicarious Trauma

So, how do we navigate this landscape of shared pain without losing ourselves? Here are three strategies I’ve found invaluable:

  1. Limit Exposure & Set Boundaries: While staying informed is essential, constant exposure to distressing content can be detrimental. I suggest scheduled check-ins with the news, ensuring you’re getting information from reputable sources. It’s also crucial to give yourself permission to disconnect when needed.
  2. Prioritize Self-Care: This cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s through physical activity, connecting with loved ones, or practicing mindfulness, self-care is the bedrock of mental well-being. Even a simple act like moving your body for five minutes can make a world of difference.
  3. Seek Professional Help: There’s no shame in seeking therapy or counseling. Sometimes, talking to someone trained to help can provide the tools and perspective needed to navigate traumatic stress.

The Power of Community

We, Black women, have a legacy of community. Historically at the forefront of activist movements, we’ve shown resilience, love, and a heart for justice. But this strength also comes with its challenges. The communal pain, the shared trauma of injustices faced by the black community, can sometimes be a heavy burden to bear. Recognizing this and seeking support, whether through conversations with loved ones or professional therapy, is crucial.

Closing Thoughts

In a world that often feels chaotic, finding moments of peace is essential. As I concluded the episode with a grounding meditation, I wanted to remind us all of the importance of self-preservation. It’s not about turning a blind eye to the world’s pain but about processing it in a way that allows us to continue empathizing without burning out.

In the end, it’s about balance. It’s about recognizing our limits, taking care of ourselves, and seeking support when needed. Because, as I believe, “joy is the only way through the pain.” And in these challenging times, we could all use a little more joy.


Are you a black woman who has been feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and confined to the struggle? If so, the Black Girl Burnout podcast is here for you. Journey along with host Kelley Bonner as she interviews guests and shares personal anecdotes about productive ways to opt-out of struggle and opt into happiness,  while navigating the unique challenges and joys of being a black woman in today’s world. From work and relationships to self-care and mental health, this podcast is a safe space to explore and find support along the journey towards your goals. Join our community and start feeling more connected and less burnt out.

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