4 Ways For An Advocate To Engage In Self-Care

Black Lives Matter sticker

Black Lives Matter sticker

It seems like our world changed overnight in November.

Yes, I'm talking about that fateful day when Donald Trump became president. And yes, I still have a hard time acknowledging him as an actual president and not default to denial. 

Since then, we have been called on to become advocates in ways we have never experienced in this lifetime: black and brown lives, Muslims, refugees, police brutality and murder, the environment, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, women, and the overall fight for governmental and societal integrity.

The list is much longer than this. It's incredibly important. It's also incredibly exhausting. 

Take one day a week to rest.

If you're finding yourself fatigued by all of the sad, awful, scary shit coming at us from every direction, you're not alone. It's meant to make us tired, so we don't continue to advocate for those who need a voice the most. It's meant to normalize chaos and erode our efforts.

And it's working. 

We are tired and hurting and don't know what else to do. It feels out of control because IT IS out of control. But here's the good news: You can continue fighting the good fight and still take care of yourself. In fact, it's necessary. 

1. Remind yourself that small acts make a big impact over time.

Back in November, I started adding small Black Lives Matter stickers to my belongings. My laptop, iPad, computer bag, etc. I changed my personal social media accounts to display a BLM picture, and while it is literally the most passive way I can advocate for the black community, I know it makes a difference because my community has gone out of their way to tell me that it makes a difference.

When I start to feel discouraged because I know I can always do more, I remind myself that small statements that carry big impacts create conversation and change.

2. Unplug for 24 hours.

The digital world is full of headlines and sound bites, and it's easy to feel fatigued from it all. Take one day a week to rest. Call it your internet Sabbath, whatever. Just put the news and the iPhone down. Give your brain and heart a break from the constant stream of information so you can get back to your advocacy with a clear head and sharper vision.

I promise if something really impactful happens, it will reach you, regardless of your virtual connectedness.

3. Don't forget yourself.

I often get engrossed in The Cause. Deeply, passionately, hopelessly engrossed. It's one of the things that I love about myself but recognize that it leads me to burnout and feeling disconnected from the rest of life around me. While 45 is overwhelmingly incompetent and dangerous to the security of our global and national security, I refuse to give him my connectedness and joy.

Every day, I seek to find joy and connected interaction with those around me because it is just TOO EASY to forget that there are still many things to be thankful for.

4. Adopt a mantra that reflects your hope.

I'm a fan of mantras. I thought they were kind of a joke for a long time, meant only for the people who mediate exclusively for world peace while wearing their culturally appropriated Native Peoples headdress at Coachella. As it turns out, it's become a practical way for me to reset my internal compass.

A mantra helps me find my true north and brings me hope when I feel as though it's all too much.

Don't know where to start? I will lend you mine. 

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." — His Holiness the Dali Lama

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