Stories flash with updates and breaking news across our smartphones and TVs. The call for individuals to prioritize and care for social justice causes and champion change is present in the digital age, unlike anything I’ve seen before. I’m encouraged by how vocal people are online and within their communities to hold space for conversations and the action they are taking to support their words and statements. A vital aspect of being an ally and advocate is ensuring you are caring for yourself––mentally and emotionally. Here are tips to care for your mental wellbeing while learning about and fighting for justice.
Regularly See A Therapist
Even if you believe that there wasn’t a traumatic moment/event in your life, it is important to see a therapist to help you process the information you are learning and work through the actions and lifestyle of an advocate/ally. It is helpful to have a neutral third party whose job it is to support you and make sure you are emotionally successful and well. This also provides a safe space to share information that you may otherwise be unable to––such as a story you learned about through work or volunteering or to share frustration about a co-worker or loved one who doesn’t seem to share the same passion or dedication to a cause as you.
Advocates and allies can become burnt out easily. The heart of an ally is wonderful because those individuals care greatly about people and want change. It can become easy to slip into the routine of accepting multiple volunteer positions, tasks, or jobs that require a lot of time and emotions or energy. It is okay and encouraged to say “no” and delegate. Practicing boundaries for the communities and environments you’re in will help you to steward the love, dedication, and time ou have to offer and make a difference long term instead of short term.
Connect With Others
It can feel like you against the world. It is important––now more so than ever, as we navigate one year of a global pandemic––to seek community. There are multiple digital groups and organizations that provide opportunity for coffee chats, email threads, newsletters, Zoom groups, etc. to make friends/connections with those who have similar priorities for seeking justice as you. Don’t be afraid to reach out via LinkedIn to connect or email those people to forge a meaningful connection.