Whether it’s marching in protests, organizing community events, writing and calling government officials, or unlearning and actively engaging in difficult conversations, being an activist is an incredibly important job. It can also be a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining one. Creating social change is not something that happens overnight or by oneself. It requires that we show up for ourselves just as much as we show up for the people and causes we’re fighting for. If we want sustainable activism, then we need to remember that, like superheroes, even change agents need to take care of themselves. And if you ever start to feel guilty for doing that, remember that Black lesbian writer and activist, Audre Lorde, once said, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We can’t pour from an empty cup. We need to care for ourselves, recharge, and replenish our resources in order to keep showing up and doing the work. So, how do you refill your cup and practice self-care as you strive for social justice?
- Check-in with yourself. You are human! Recognize your humanity, acknowledge what your heart, body, and mind need, and then honor those needs. Examples: eat, drink, sleep, repeat; maintain healthy diet and hygiene and move your body; and take social media and news breaks so you can do things that spark joy. Whatever you do, be kind and gentle with yourself!
- Lean on your tribe. Spend time with friends and family doing things you enjoy, and limit your interaction with people and things that drain you. Surround yourself with people who affirm your experiences and are compassionate and supportive.
- Plan action hours. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of action steps, try breaking down your list into more manageable tasks, schedule them on your calendar, and then try to stick to that plan.
- Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga exercises. Activism can make us feel all sorts of emotions. Learn to manage your them and recenter yourself with a good daily practice. Here are a few exercises that are geared toward activists just like you!
How are you taking care of yourself during this time? Comment below!