Today we all know about feminism, Black lives matter, emotional and physical abuse activists, LGBT+ activists, body activists etc, with the power and positive persuasion of social media joining in on the fight to positive freedom and unity has never been easier.
However, activism online and IRL can become extremely draining, you’re fighting for what you believe in whether that’s running a support page, marching in solidarity or getting jobs in business sectors improving minorities lives, whatever form it’s in over time the toll it can take on us physically and mentally can be ignored, by ourselves mostly.
Just remember to keep reminding yourself of how hard you’re working, you’re valid and to celebrate every single victory. Also you’re surrounded by a massive community marching in the same direction, everyone is there to lean on one another and reach the united goal to improve the world, so if you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions remind yourself they’re in it with you too.
Side note: for newbie activists, remember not everyone will get it, everyone is entitled to their own opinion even if it’s far from what you believe in. You, as an activist, have every right to challenge it, if the argument with someone cannot be resolved you then should realise that that particular person cannot be
educated for your cause, will never agree or
chooses to remain ignorant.
Once you have realised this, there are so many people out there that once receiving more information and see the physical and emotional work you’re putting in and would be willing to see life beyond their own opinions.
While you’re out there making the world a better place day by day it’s essential to step back and get more metaphorical wood for the fire in your heart. Burning out is possible if not done correctly.
- Get off the internet: 100 years ago, people would’ve had to go to marches or publish their concerns in paper media. Today there are so many more forms to share news, today’s forms can cause more issues. Now people have the ability to create multiple users and harass, ‘troll’. Nevertheless, the constant pings from your phone from trolls or even your activist community with new updates can take it’s toll. Turn off notifications for particular social media apps or turn off your phone all together and spend some time doing something else. I recommend doing this at least once a week, for a whole day or however you feel is necessary to unwind.
- Have you got an activist buddy? As I’ve gotten older and joined different types of activist communities I’ve learnt there will always be people that won’t agree with you. My advice to this is to have separate groups/communities for this e.g. I’ll talk about LGBT+ issues and events with my online LGBT+ members and allies Insta group (message moi to join), I’ll talk about black issues with my friends, feminism with my black girls read FB group. Obviously, as an activist it is our main role to bring social change outside our circle, no use preaching to the converted. However, it’s also important to be constantly educated along the way, find out about the latest protests, laws, events, issues and talks, stay informed.
- Write a letter to your future self I know, I know not everyone is into writing or would consider themselves a writer but to do this…you honestly don’t need to be. A few months ago while I was getting some things out of the garage I found a bunch of my old journals from when I was still single digits, there were so many little messages I left for my future self, it was so inspiring to see my hopes and dreams never really changed but also to see how much growth I’d achieved in all aspects. Write it on your phone or take a few sheets of paper and set a reminder on your phone calendar to open it in how ever many years you want (enough time for it to be significant). Activists should do this on good and bad days for example maybe gay marriage was legalised in another country or you were racially abused online, take note of it and how you handled it, you can much later see how far you’ve come and what they’re fighting for even when you feel discouraged again.
- Watch an inspiring movie that corresponds with what you’re fighting for: sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one sticking up for what you believe in especially if you have a small community to guide you. If out of your friends you’re the only feminist, if in your school you’re one of few LGBT+ members or the only BLM activist at work. Just know that’s okay and soon enough you’ll meet larger communities that want to work with you and help bring more positive change, universities have so many communities. Even by yourself you’re doing so many great things, relaxing and watching a film that relates to your activism is a good way to know you’re not alone and that for years before and after, while they might not be in front of you physically, they’re there rooting for you.
- Entitlement or passion?: “If you are participating in activism–whether it’s by spreading awareness on social media, joining a social justice club, protesting, or engaging your friends and family in dialogue–your emotions may be mixed, both negative and positive. When you are vocal about an issue, you may be asked (multiple times), “Why do you care so much?” or “Why are you so angry?” You might ask yourself those questions too. Recognise that whether your activism is driven by frustration, sadness, anger, enthusiasm, or optimism, you cannot beat yourself up for how you feel, or for spending “too much time” on an issue that’s been deemed “negative” or “controversial.” Pause to be mindful of your emotions and appreciate how they drive your actions. Those feelings are what will keep you interested and involved in a movement.” —Upasna Barath.
- Old hobbies: for some people, a way to relax is to return to things that would make them happy as a child or in previous years. Maybe you were a decent swimmer and it calmed you, making collages, taking a walk or solving maths equations. Whatever it is that calms you that has no correlation to activism online or IRL is where you need to unwind. The more well rested you are the more you can put back into your campaigns, decisions and passions etc.
- Understand that not every war can be won: Ask yourself if your energy is being used wisely. Try to understand there will always be racists, people that hate the LGBT+ community, misogynists etc. It’s impossible for everyone to agree on everything. I read a really good tweet about how we as activists should work hard but also recognise we can’t win every battle and to not use all our power on those who will never agree. However, there are people out there still to hear your message, laws to be changed and history to be made. So take a break but remind yourself you’re still a badass.
So that’s it bootiful people, 7 self care tips for you bootiful activists, now go look after your mental health and take over the world, see ya in the next post!