We are at an unprecedented crossroads in America. After months of seeing our way of life, health, and economy altered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the eyes of the nation now turn to the fight for racial equality, justice and peace. There’s a lot to be thankful for in this time: our ability to organize with each other, see the need for help and fill it no matter where we live, the hope that this could be the potential start of lasting change for good in this country.
But living through such a high-stakes, heartbreaking time for social justice in this country can have its costs. Without intentionality and attentiveness, it can be easy to become burnt out by all the information we’re receiving and all of the work that is before us. Whether you’re out marching or looking for ways to help out from home, it’s important to equip yourself against fatigue, exhaustion and apathy. Here are a few ways to take care of yourself and ensure you can continue helping out wherever you’re needed the most.
Give Your Attention Where It’s Helpful
Staying aware of what’s going on is important, but remaining glued to devices every waking minute won’t help us be more effective and it can drown us in information and emotion. Remember to give yourself some time away from social media to reflect on what you’ve seen and experienced and how you want to respond to it.
Remember That Levity is Okay
If you need a moment to disengage, to watch something silly, read a book or take a nap, it’s not a failure. Our bodies and our minds need rest from time to time and there’s no shame in taking that time to ensure you don’t collapse entirely. Retaining a base level of energy is important for the long term.
Focus on the Good That’s in Front of You
When we look at all that’s wrong in the world, we might feel too overwhelmed to know where to start. Social media is a blessing and a curse: visibility is a huge strength for social justice, but it can become hard to decide where to put our attention. It always becomes easier when you have a concrete list, plan, or place you want to start. Whether it’s making a list of places to donate this week, deciding to sign a certain number of petitions today, or finding a place you want to volunteer your time, giving yourself a plan of action is always useful. If you’re looking for ways to help in the fight for racial justice, we have a few places to start here.
Overall, activism isn’t a one-time event. Not everything will be accomplished today. What’s important is having the planning, dedication, and grace for yourself and others to weather the storm and lend your help in the days, weeks and years to come.