Treat Yo’ Self: Activist Self-Care
Posted by Tristan
October 15, 2014
Working to create heal communities and comfortable spaces for everyone can be draining and we need to make sure we are making time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. You’re doing amazing work, just don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while.
This past weekend my friends hosted a feminist brunch where we were able to talk about all of the stresses of activism and living in patriarchal society. We talked about everything from how Emma Watson’s feminism speech for the UN didn’t quite do us justice, how all the white boy organizers love Chris Crass and why some of us are not on board with his allyship, and about how we can keep spaces feminist within organizing while still being inclusive. As activists who are constantly devoting ourselves to causes and other people, we sometimes forget to take care of our own well-being. Cooking brunch with other womyn who organize on campus gave me a chance to think about one of the most important things in social movements that doesn’t get talked about enough: self-care.
Planning for self-care time can be done in whatever way works for you. If you are booked with meetings, listen to music while you’re running around campus. If you had a day when you felt like calm-communication wasn’t happening within your group, recognize that you aren’t alone. Taking care of the basics and getting good sleep and nourishment is one of the easiest ways to prevent burn-out.
It is also important to see the ways in which activism is for many people a path to self-care. Within activist communities there are support systems for your emotional well being. The feminist brunch that we set up helped me realize that talking about how you’re feeling and having people who are open to listen can be a really great de-stresser.
Sometimes you have to construct your own emotional support systems, but sometimes they are built into wherever you are working. Whatever the case is for you, it is important to be able to allow yourself and other people in the group to have a space where they can feel and escape from situations that are hostile environments for emotional attachment.
Here are some other amazing self-care lists for further reference:
- The Mindful Occupation Booklet, provides some amazing resources for how to address self-care.
Self-Care Starter Kit by the School of Social Work at SUNY Buffalo
Transformative Change gives some great links to literature on activist burnout and taking time for you
There is no perfect way to do self-care. All that’s really required is that you take sometime to do something that will make you happy and give yourself a break from the stress that comes with activism. It takes practice, but don’t forget to take a break every once in awhile!