As activists, we spend so much of our time helping others, confronting injustice, and contemplating ways in which we can make the world a better place. However, it’s also important that we take a break from saving the world, and practice SELF-CARE! Our mental and emotional health should never be swept under the rug — it’s a priority! Check out Jason F’s tips on how to practice self-care as an activist!
Tip #1: Call in instead of calling out
Oh jeez. Your roommate just shared a deeply problematic article and every fiber of your being screams to spit your liberal fire in the comments section. And yet, you know this will only open the floodgates to a keyboard-maiming flame-war that ends in a “mutual room swap.” So what is an activist to do in the face of adversity? Instead of calling them out, “call in.” Send them a private message, and offer your (fact-based) viewpoint. After all, you’re not trying to publicly humiliate; you’re trying to change minds. This approach will work wonders for your persuasiveness, your social life, and your sanity.
Tip #2: Disengage! I repeat, disengage!
So you didn’t follow tip number 1 and now you’re entrenched in a Facebook comments quagmire trying to explain why trade liberalization isn’t a zero-sum game to a person who just called you a communist. The tempers have flared, friends and families have engaged, and now a Sharks v. Jets rumble is going down. At this point, it’s okay to log off. Take the high road and diffuse the situation. After all, activism is about love and acceptance. Anger has a place, but it’s not useful when directed at the very people you’re trying to convince.
Tip #3: Ask for good news first
To the 24-hour news cycle, everything bad seems to be on the rise. Global temperatures, Islamophobia, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the rat population… sometimes it feels like the world is beyond saving. When it feels like you’ve hit a wall, it’s good to remind yourself that the media is often biased towards alarmism and sensationalism. It’s in their business model. However, that leaves it up to you to remind yourself of all the hopeful, positive trends! Infant mortality is falling, life expectancy is rising, and fewer people fall victim to global conflict now than ever before. See, we can save the world!
Follow these tips to safely navigate the turbulent waters of the 21st century. Needless to say, you CAN stay aware and get your nap time in. Just make sure to not get bogged down in the swamp.